Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Utah Mine Owner and His Political Clout

I have avoided discussing this issue while the miners were still trapped inside but this story needs to be told. This story shows how political clout trumps workers safety and ultimately workers lives.
In 2003, when safety inspectors ordered the owner of a Utah coal mine where six workers have been trapped for more than a week to shut down one of his Ohio operations because of repeated safety problems, local press reports say he did not hesitate to flex his political muscle to get the inspectors off his back.

"I will have your jobs. They are gone. The clock is ticking," Young quotes Murray as saying at the meeting.

The notes then go on to say Murray dropped the name of a pair of powerful Republicans in order to underscore his own political clout.

"Mitch McConnell calls me one of the five finest men in America, and last time I checked he was sleeping with your boss," Murray told the inspectors, referring to the senior GOP senator from Kentucky. The quote was repeated in an Oct. 2006 Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader article on McConnell's political influence.

McConnell - the Republican leader in the Senate - is married to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, who oversees MSHA. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, McConnell has received $176,800 in campaign donations from mining interests since 2001.
Mitch McConnell is up for election in 2008. This issue must be used as a club to bludgeon him. Corporate money in politics is destroying this country and putting workers safety in jeopardy. When will the American people say enough is enough and demand reforms? There are six people trapped underground for one week who most likely lost their lives because the mine owner has friends in high places.

Robert Murray, the owner of Murray Energy has donated extensively to Republican causes and a quick look up on Open Secrets reveals a who's who in Republican politics. This is exactly what is wrong with the American political system.

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