WV Activist to Senator Inhofe: Give Blankenship Campaign Money to the Community
Last week, Republic Report revealed that recently indicted former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship had given campaign cash to only one federal politician this campaign cycle: Republican Senator Jim Inhofe.
Now, a prominent West Virginia activist, Vernon Haltom, the executive director of Coal River Mountain Watch, is writing to Sen. Inhofe to highlight that donation. In a letter he shared with Republic Report, Vernon says that Blankenship’s “reprehensible, inexcusable contempt for workers’ safety resulted in heartbreak for the families and community of 29 miners.” He goes on to call for the Oklahoma senator to “please consider returning that campaign donation to the community that suffered so much to provide it,” noting there are “a number of suitable charities in the West Virginia community where this disaster occurred, including churches, schools, and community groups.”
The full copy of Haltom’s letter is below:
Dear Sen. Inhofe,
Happy belated birthday and congratulations on your election victory.
It has been brought to our attention that one of your campaign donors was Don Blankenship of Belfry, KY, in the amount of $2,600 (http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?13020430987).
As you may be aware, Mr. Blankenship has been indicted on a number of charges in the wake of federal investigations surrounding his Upper Big Branch mine explosion, which killed 29 miners in our community.
Don Blankenship’s reprehensible, inexcusable contempt for workers’ safety resulted in heartbreak for the families and community of 29 miners. We who live and die near mountaintop removal sites face an ongoing, heartbreaking health crisis resulting from the contempt for public health that Blankenship and his successors and peers continue to exercise.
As a gesture of humanity, please consider returning that campaign donation to the community that suffered so much to provide it. There are a number of suitable charities in the West Virginia community where this disaster occurred, including churches, schools, and community groups.
Please take this opportunity to do the right thing and distance yourself from Don Blankenship, whose reputation as a heartless robber baron permeates every level of West Virginia’s red state society.