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CREW Files FEC Complaint Against Murray Energy Corporation and CEO Robert Murray
WASHINGTON - October 9 - Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the Murray Energy Corporation, the Murray Energy Corporation PAC, and the company’s Chairman, President, and CEO Robert E. Murray, following a report that appeared in the October 4, 2012 issue of The New Republic. The complaint alleges Mr. Murray threatened employees with reprisals, including the loss of their jobs, to coerce them to make contributions to the company’s PAC.
Mr. Murray is a prominent Republican donor and, in August, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney used Mr. Murray’s Century Mine in Ohio as a backdrop while he attacked President Barack Obama as anti-coal. Coal-smudged miners who worked for Mr. Murray were forced to take time off from work without pay to stand behind Mr. Romney. Mr. Murray has also held fundraisers for Sens. Scott Brown (R-MA), Jim DeMint (R-SC), David Vitter (R-LA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Bob Corker (R-TN), among others.
CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan stated, “It is outrageous for a business owner to abuse his power to force his employees to support a political candidate. Whether coercing company executives to make campaign contributions or insisting coal miners take time off without pay so that a candidate can stage pretty pictures — it is all illegal.”
The complaint also alleges that the company reimbursed employees for contributions to the PAC by giving them monthly bonuses personally approved by Mr. Murray. Campaign finance law prohibits corporate PACs from using coercion to extort contributions from company employees and prohibits companies from using corporate funds to reimburse employees for contributions to a company PAC.
According to two individuals in management at Murray Energy as well as internal company documents, employees were under constant threat of losing their jobs if they failed to contribute to the company PAC.
“Candidates who claim to care so much about American workers should be quick to publicly condemn Murray’s conduct, but — surprise, surprise — they are keeping silent as long as the campaign contributions roll in,” Ms. Sloan said.