Thursday, July 29, 2010

Big Coal Bosses Banding Together To Buy Elections

With the disastrous 5 - 4 Citizens United ruling by a Supreme Court that is being called the "most conservative in decades," the floodgates are now open for Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Everything Else to dump millions of dollars into smear campaigns targeting politicians who dare to stand up to them.

Now it appears that Big Coal at least stands ready to take full advantage of this new opportunity for wealthy polluters to have an even bigger say in our democracy, as ABC News reports:
Top officials at the country's major coal companies, including Massey Energy, owner of the West Virginia mine where 29 died earlier this year, apparently want to take advantage of looser campaign finance laws and use corporate money to defeat political candidates they believe to be "anti-coal."

According to an email from Roger Nicholson, senior vice president of the International Coal Group, "a number of coal industry representatives recently have been considering developing a 527 entity with the purpose of attempting to defeat anti-coal incumbents."
And what, pray tell, makes a member of Congress "anti-coal" in the eyes of a company like Massey Energy?
Massey Energy owns the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia, site of the April 5 explosion that took 29 lives, while ICG owned the Sago mine, also in West Virginia, where 12 died four years ago. The incidents have caused Congress to take a closer look at mine safety.
Oh, right: any and all attempts to look into Big Coal's gross violations of safety and environmental regulations. In fact, buying elections is a tried-and-true strategy for Massey CEO Don Blankenship (who also, by the way, doesn't believe in science):
Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship has already excited controversy via his own involvement in West Virginia state elections. He spent millions of his own money in a successful attempt to defeat a sitting state supreme court justice. The justice who Blankenship supported later ruled in Massey's favor, as did another justice, Spike Maynard, who had vacationed on the Riviera with Blankenship while the case was pending before the court.
At the very least the FBI is not an elective office, or they'd have to watch out too... investigating federal crimes by Massey Employees probably also makes you "anti-coal."