NH1 News Debates


Sep 11, 2014 5:49 PM

Murray Energy Corp. Employees Forced to Donate to NH Candidates

From a story in The Charleston Gazette, we learn that a former foreman is suing Murray Energy:

A former Murray Energy preparation plant foreman is suing the company, alleging she was fired because she did not make campaign contributions to Murray CEO Bob Murray’s preferred political candidates, according to a legal complaint filed in Monongalia County Circuit Court.
Jean F. Cochenour also alleges that her firing from Murray Energy discriminated against her because of her gender. She was the company’s only female preparation plant foreman, the legal complaint states.
Murray Energy Corporation owns coal mines. They're the 12th largest coal company. Back in 2007, there was a cave in at one of the Murray mines that resulted in 6 miners being trapped underground. Ten days later, three rescue workers were killed in a second collapse. The bodies of the 6 miners were never found. The mine had been repeatedly cited for violations.

Company CEO Robert Murray is a long time donor to the Republican party. In 2012, Alec MacGillis in the New Republic wrote a piece about Murray employees that turned out to see Mitt Romney.

This year, Murray is one of the most important GOP players in one of the most important battleground states in the country. In May, he hosted a $1.7 million fund-raiser for Romney. Employees have given the nominee more than $120,000. In August, Romney used Murray’s Century Mine in the town of Beallsville for a speech attacking Barack Obama as anti-coal. This fall, scenes from that eventseveral dozen coal-smudged Murray miners standing behind the candidate in a tableau framed by a giant American flag and a COAL COUNTRY STANDS WITH MITT placardhave shown up in a Romney ad.
The ads aired even after Ohio papers reported what I was told by several miners at the event, a bit of news that an internal memo confirms: The crowd was not there of its own accord. Murray had suspended Century’s operations and made clear to workers that they were expected to attend, without pay.
Employees are also expected to donate:

The pressure to give begins as soon as employees enter the company, the Murray sources say. At the time of hiring, supervisors tell employees that they are expected to contribute to the company PAC by automatic payroll deductiontypically 1 percent of their salary, a level confirmed by a 2008 letter to employees from the PAC’s treasurer

And they're expected to donate to specific candidates. Many candidates have gone to Murray Energy with their begging bowls, including NH's very own former Senator John E. Sununu:

Later, the sources say, Murray sends letters to employees’ homes asking them to give to specific candidates. The letters feature suggested amounts depending on their salary levelone middle manager was encouraged to give $200 to then–Oregon Senator Gordon Smithand include forms to fill out and return, with checks, to Murray headquarters. The letters come with great frequency. Before the 2008 election, there were nine fund-raisers in less than three months. Guests included then–New Hampshire Senator John E. Sununu, then–Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, and Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe.

Given all of this expectation and arm twisting, it's no surprise that Murray would fire an employee for refusing to play along.

Once again, there is a NH connection:

In that May 29, 2014, letter, Bob Murray wrote, “The coal industry and our jobs are being destroyed by President Barack Obama, his appointed bureaucrats, and his political supporters in the U.S. House and Senate. Our only hope to stop them is by electing friends of coal and our families and by wresting control of the U.S. Senate from these enemies of coal, maintaining our current U.S. House majority, and electing strong, effective state-level leadership.”
The letter asked for $200 contributions each for four Republican U.S. Senate candidates, Scott Brown in New Hampshire, Edward Gillespie in Virginia, Terri Land in Michigan, and Mike McFadden in Minnesota. The letter noted that a “huge fundraising event” was being planned in June in Harrisburg, Illinois, and asked that contributions be submitted to Murray in time for that event.

There really is no such thing as clean coal.

ht/to PS


--  Dealing with the Disease of Addiction? Click here for help --

More from NH1.com

NH1 News Debates
NH1 News Replay

NH1 on Twitter

NH1 SkyView Cameras

NH1 on Facebook

Check out NH1 News Rail Polls on LockerDome on LockerDome