Are Coal Mine Employees Forced To Support Romney?

According to a Federal Election Commission complaint filed by the Democratic Party of Ohio, employees for coal mining company Murray Energy have been coerced by their bosses into not only voting Republican, but also helping to fund Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

From Eric Dolan of Raw Story:

Two Murray Energy managerial sources told The New Republic that the company pressures employees into giving money to the Murray Energy political action committee (PAC) and to Republican candidates. In addition, internal documents revealed that the company tracks which employees are and are not making contributions. Employees of the company allegedly fear that if they do not make the political contributions and attend fundraisers, they will face repercussions including demotions and being refused bonuses.

This is the second time that a FEC complaint has been filed against Murray Energy.  The first occurred last month when Progress Ohio filed a complaint against Murray for allegedly forcing employees to attend a Romney rally in August of this year.

Again, from Raw Story:

It is clear from published reports by executives at Murray Energy that employees were mandated to attend the August 14 Romney rally after closing the mine,” said Brian Rothenberg, Executive Director of ProgressOhio. “Clearly the use of these miners in television ads is meant to convey something of value to the Romney campaign and is therefore a violation of federal law.”

In both instances, employees of Murray have said that they feared for their jobs and believed the company would retaliate against them if they did not toe the company line and support the Republican candidate. 

Executives at Murray claim that the complaints are merely a way for Democrats to silence the company from speaking out against President Obama’s alleged “war on coal.”  But the facts and the company’s own history betray their claims.

First of all, coal production in the United States has actually increased in the last two years under President Obama, hardly the outcome you’d expect from a “war on coal.” 

Second, Murray has a long history of siding with climate deniers and misinformation peddlers.  Murray is a regular funder of the Heartland Institute and has sponsored their yearly “denial-a-palooza” event.  They gave $100,000 to Heartland in 2010, and they are expected to pour in another $40,000 this year. 

Time will tell if the FEC complaints have any impact on Murray, but the damage has already been done.  Their employees are already on record discussing the company’s pro-Romney, pro-Republican stance, as well as the environment of political intimidation that employees are forced to work under.