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Last night, Devilstower wrote of the West Virginia coal mine explosion that we now know has killed 25 people,

However as we hope and pray for the recovery of those now under the earth, it's hard not to think about the character of those who sent them there. The CEO of Massey Energy is Don Blankenship. The same Don Blankenship who invented a scandal and funded it to the tune of $3 million to run one one state supreme court judge out of office for the crime of siding with workers. The same Blankenship who was photographed cavorting along the French Riveria with another justice while his company had a $77 million case before the court. The same Don Blankenship who regularly condemns the whole idea of environmental protection, saying that global warming does not exist and that asking people to conserve is tantamount to communism. The same Blankenship and the same Massey that last year was convicted of massive and systematic age discrimination. The same Blankenship and the same Massey who were ordered to pay $30 million in environmental damages after running up fines that actually topped $2.5 billion.  

Most critically this is the same Blankenship and the same Massey who lost miners a recently as 2006 due to lack of safety equipment. At the end of that case, the widows of the dead men refused to accept the settlement, stating that it was clear that the company executives had placed profit ahead of safety.

Given that Blankenship's business depends on the government not acting aggressively to save the lives of its workers, it's worth asking what kind of a government he wants to see. OpenSecrets has a partial answer:

BLANKENSHIP, DONALD L MRMASSEY ENERGY CO./CHAIRMAN & CEO11/17/2009$30,400National Republican Senatorial Cmte
BLANKENSHIP, DON MRMASSEY ENERGY/CORPORATE EXECUTIVE9/23/2009$2,000Toomey, Pat
BLANKENSHIP, DONMASSEY ENERGY/CEO6/18/2009$1,000Portman, Rob
BLANKENSHIP, DONMASSEY ENERGY / COAL/CHAIRMAN11/9/2009$1,000Rogers, Mike

These are the candidates and committees Don Blankenship thinks are worth an investment. What's not worth an investment in Blankenship's eyes? In 2005, he sent out a memo (PDF, via mistermix) saying:

If any of you have been asked by your group presidents, your supervisors, engineers or anyone else to do anything other than run coal (i.e. build overcasts, do construction jobs, or whatever), you need to ignore them and run coal. This memo is necessary only because we seem not to understand that the coal pays the bills.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey, Ohio Republican Senate candidate Rob Portman, and Michigan Republican Congressman Mike Rogers are worth Don Blankenship's personal money. Safety work in his mines is not worth his company's money. "Coal pays the bills" -- and, I guess, so would Rob Portman and Pat Toomey in the Senate.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 09:10 AM PDT.

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