Thanks to the Citizens United Ruling in January, corporations are now deemed people, and thus have been given unprecedented rights to invest in political candidates.
The coal industry, including Massey Energy, is joining together to form a 527 group in order to throw their money at candidates they hope will defeat [anti-coal] Democrats in key midterm elections. Think Progress reports:
The Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky reports that several coal executives, including Blankenship, are pooling their money to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision loosening corporate campaign finance laws by forming a 527 group to help elect coal-friendly Republicans. Why a 527? Because according to the IRS, they can hide their activities until “next year, long after the Nov. 2 election.” From the report:
“With the recent Supreme Court ruling, we are in a position to be able to take corporate positions that were not previously available in allowing our voices to be heard,” wrote Roger Nicholson, senior vice president and general counsel at International Coal Group of Scott Depot, W.Va., in an undated letter he sent to other coal companies. [...]
“A number of coal industry representatives recently have been considering developing a 527 entity with the purpose of attempting to defeat anti-coal incumbents in select races, as well as elect pro-coal candidates running for certain open seats,” Nicholson wrote. “We’re requesting your consideration as to whether your company would be willing to meet to discuss a significant commitment to such an effort.”
Nicholson listed three races “of interest”: Conway against Republican Rand Paul for Kentucky’s open Senate seat; Chandler against Republican Garland “Andy” Barr in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District; and Democratic U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall against Republican Elliott “Spike” Maynard in West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District.