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Coal Workers Say Murray Energy ‘Coerces’ Them To Make GOP Donations: ‘If You Don’t Contribute, Your Job’s At Stake’

By Stephen Lacey  

"Coal Workers Say Murray Energy ‘Coerces’ Them To Make GOP Donations: ‘If You Don’t Contribute, Your Job’s At Stake’"

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“You’ve got a great boss,” Mitt Romney proclaimed to a crowd of coal miners at a campaign rally in August.

He was referring to Robert Murray, the CEO of Murray Energy, one of the largest coal mining operators in the country.

For Romney, that statement was particularly true. According to accounts from multiple coal miners, employees were forced to attend the event without pay. “Just for the record, if we did not go, we knew what would happen,” said one miner in a letter to a local radio station. Weeks later, Romney’s campaign featured images of the coal miners in a pro-coal ad. (The Obama campaign hit back this week with an ad claiming Romney used coal workers as “props”).

But that was just the tip of the iceberg. An expose from New Republic Senior Editor Alec MacGillis shows that Murray Energy is doing far more than requiring employees to spend uncompensated time at campaign events — the company is actually requiring them to donate to GOP candidates like Romney:

The accounts of two sources who have worked in managerial positions at the firm, and a review of letters and memos to Murray employees, suggest that coercion may also explain Murray staffers’ financial support for Romney. Murray, it turns out, has for years pressured salaried employees to give to the Murray Energy political action committee (PAC) and to Republican candidates chosen by the company. Internal documents show that company officials track who is and is not giving. The sources say that those who do not give are at risk of being demoted or missing out on bonuses, claims Murray denies.

The Murray sources, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution, came forward separately. But they painted similar pictures of the fund-raising operation. “There’s a lot of coercion,” says one of them. “I just wanted to work, but you feel this constant pressure that, if you don’t contribute, your job’s at stake. You’re compelled to do this whether you want to or not.” Says the second: “They will give you a call if you’re not giving. . . . It’s expected you give Mr. Murray what he asks for.”

This spring, Murray organized a fundraiser for Mitt Romney, eventually bundling more than a million and half dollars for the candidate. According to the New Republic, employees of Murray Energy have donated more than $1.4 million to Republican candidates — with $120,000 raised for Romney this campaign season alone.

While employees say Murray does not explicitly force them to make donations, he makes it very clear what could happen if they don’t contribute some of their salary to Republicans. “We have been insulted by every salaried employee who does not support our efforts,” he wrote in one 2012 letter obtained by the New Republic.

And in a 2011 letter to company managers, Murray alluded to potential consequences if employees did not donate: “Please see that our salaried employees ‘step up,’ for their own sakes and those of their employees.”

Other national candidates supported by the “coerced” donations of coal workers include House Speaker John Boehner, Scott Brown, Rand Paul, David Vitter, and Congress’ most aggressive climate denier, Jim Inhofe. “Hopefully you will support every one of these friends of coal,” wrote Murray to his employees.

Murray, who is a fierce defender of the coal industry, is also a fierce climate denier. He has called climate change a “theory” and has blamed climate scientists for supposedly “perpetuating fraud.”

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney once proclaimed that coal plants “kill people” and established a “no regrets” plan to combat global warming. Today, with massive financial backing from the fossil fuel industry, Romney says that “we don’t know” what’s causing global warming. And in the presidential debate this week, he proclaimed “I like coal.”

Now we know why.

‹ A Disappointing Presidential Debate For Energy And Climate

The New Values Voters: Faith Groups And Climate Change ›

33 Responses to Coal Workers Say Murray Energy ‘Coerces’ Them To Make GOP Donations: ‘If You Don’t Contribute, Your Job’s At Stake’

  1. Walter Stockhecker says:

    These guys will kill the earth, kill the economy and kill the middle class. Period.

  2. Zimzone says:

    Mitt’s pretty sure, along with corporate America, that they can buy this election.

    And they may be right!

    ~REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER~

  3. Matt says:

    In a surprise to nobody, this demonstrates clearly (once again) where the GOP gets the crazysauce stuff they accuse unions of doing – from their own donors.

    As ever, IT’S ALWAYS PROJECTION.

  4. Jackie says:

    Mitt knows without threatening people with their jobs, lying in debates and his corporation friends denying jobs it about the only way he might steal the election. What is shocking is how the US use to be the country demand other countries to have honest elections. But it seems Americans accept a Liar-Draft Dodger-in-Chief like Mitt for a President. May God help America from Mitt Romney and his lunatic VP Paul Ryan.

  5. VBobier says:

    Yep, nothing like Kickbacks to keep ones job…

  6. John Sullivan says:

    “Vote, peasants!”

  7. wedgewood says:

    AT&T does the same thing at the mgmt level and up. The more senior you are, the more pressure is brought to bear.

  8. Ric Haustein says:

    I’m pretty sure that it’s illegal to force an employee to make a political donation. Shouldn’t the FEC be looking at this?

    • Robert Levi Marenda says:

      I am wondering specifically what law or laws Murray may have violated.

      • Diane says:

        It’s called extortion.

      • Ozonator says:

        Slavery, grand larceny, kidnapping, and attempted murder and murder depending on Murray’s worker comp meddling.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        The laws of Common Decency, and The Golden Rule (Do unto others etc) for a start. I imagine that they probably have the gall to call themselves ‘Christians’, too.

        • Elizabeth says:

          Oh, yeah … Christians. Yep, yep. These are the folks that are planning to be raptured away leaving those “Left Behind”s in an oil and petrochemical soaked sewer that they’ve profited from all their silly, superstitious, self-serving lives.

  9. Canary says:

    If this isn’t a crime, it should be.

  10. rmwarnick says:

    Murray Energy is hated in Utah because of unsafe coal mining practices that led to the 2007 Crandall Canyon Mine disaster, in which 9 men died.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crandall_Canyon_Mine

  11. Hermes says:

    Per their usual Orwellian protocol, the plutocracy accuse unions of doing what they do themselves: coerce workers to vote a certain way, contribute a certain way, toe the line to keep their job.

    • sandra styburski says:

      Is it legal what your doing to your employees and contractors? If it’s not, it should be. You Mr. Murray are a pig with a capital P. Pay those gentleman that YOU made stand behind mitbot during that campain stump. DISGUSTING

  12. Robert Levi Marenda says:

    If the allegations against Murray are true, it is, at the very least blackmail. I am not even sure what crime it might be at the worst.

    Murray coal needs to be prosecuted if this country is going to be governed by the rule of law.

  13. Bob Noonan says:

    I can’t think of Robert Murray and the Republican Party without thinking of the Crandall Canyon 2007 mining disaster in Utah which resulted in the deaths of six workers in one of Murray’s hellhole mines.

  14. Zarrakan says:

    The Republican party is is a traitor to America. What the Republicans want is the complete destruction/subjugation of the non-rich to give everything to RICH WHITE YOUNG STRAIGHT MEN. Unemployment will do nothing but increase wherever Republicans have power. I made a video about unemployment, and how we can fix it. It’s at my YouTube channel Zarrakan, and here’s the name:
    2012 6 5 ZOC Job Pyramid
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6qjvLSCtpc
    Watch it, share it, and join the fight against those who want to kill all of us with destructive social policies.

  15. Gabriel Hunt says:

    see what an ex Bob Murray coal miner has to say.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZmJBy_wu-U

  16. Robert Murray should be arrested for economic blackmail!!!
    The Platzner Post Facebook, and Twitter
    https://www.facebook.com/ThePlatznerPost

  17. Sasha says:

    I am not surprised. My husband works for a fan company here in Jacksonville and when Christmas came around they gave out bonus’s (it was actually a really good one) and a letter from the company’s CEO.

    You would think the letter was about wishing everyone Happy Holidays but it was pretty much about how its Obama’s fault that the bonus’s weren’t bigger. It was really, really weird, and I told my husband that he should report this because I’m sure that its not allowed but to who? I mean I knew it was wrong and of course to us it was ridiculous but how about to the workers who are not familiar with politics? There probably were some who really believed that everything in that letter was true.

    There are no words to describe the stupidity and pathetic of the GOP party. If Romney wins, then at this time I almost feel as if Americans deserve whats coming to them. I mean if your dumb enough to vote for Romney then you deserve every hardship that comes to you and your family.

  18. Nabil Al-Murabit says:

    See this is just another reason why I hate Mitt Romney and if he gets elected you can bet your ass that there will be more companies doing this. Then again, this is a dude who has praised Chinese sweat shops and how they go about their business so I’m not surprised. I feel sorry for those dudes.

  19. Jim S says:

    What is the upper limit of the bosses’ authority over an employee in the world of the Republicans, Mr Murray, and Mittens? An employer can compel campaign contributions. If your employer’s religion doesn’t believe in birth control, you can’t buy birth control on your insurance. What’s next? Droit du seigneur?

  20. Fred says:

    Check out this video of the coal miner’s owner’s goons interrupting a family 4th of July picnic!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-cooper/west-virginia-coal-thugs_b_226979.html

  21. Lisa Johnson says:

    Aww, look at Mitt pretending a hard-working miner by wearing blue jeans and not his usual custom made tailored suit. Just like he wants to play President. What a cute little toddler!

  22. Michael H. Reid says:

    This is a wrong way to keep employees. I
    believe coal has seen it’s day. This country
    will soon seek other ways to heat our homes,
    factories and whatever coal has a function with. Coal has helped to destroy the Ozone
    layer and companies like your will soon be
    non-existant.

  23. Sherise says:

    Someone suggested once that we all incorporate ourselves and become a corporation unto ourselves. Maybe this way we can get a fair shake in all of this.

  24. Mr. Murry needs medical help. I would recomend a Goverment sponsered Colonoscope.