Romney Names Coal Baron Joe Craft As Campaign’s Kentucky Finance Chair

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) today named Joe Craft, president and CEO of Alliance Resource Partners, as one of his campaign’s Kentucky State Finance Chairs, the campaign announced via release. Alliance, the nation’s fourth-largest coal producer, owns and operates the Dotiki Mine in Providence, Kentucky, where two miners were killed in a roof collapse in April 2010. Alliance had been cited for 840 safety violations in the 16 months preceding the Dotiki collapse. According to the Federal Elections Commission, Craft has not yet made donations in the 2012 election cycle, but he is among the hosts of a Nov. 17 Romney fundraiser in Lexington, Kentucky. He contributed $2,300 to Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign. Craft is well-known for his connectedness in Kentucky politics — earlier this year, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) fired Ron Mills, head of the state’s mine permit agency, after Mills denied dozens of Alliance’s permits, and despite the company’s shoddy safety history, one of Alliance’s top safety officials sits on Kentucky’s mine safety board. In 2010, Craft organized a $7 million grant to the University of Kentucky to name a new campus dormitory the “Wildcat Coal Lodge.”

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