In the wake of the deaths of 54 coal miners, 29 at the Upper Big Branch mine alone, while running Massey Energy, being convicted by a jury of his peers of conspiring to violate federal safety standards and serving a year in a California correctional facility, Don Blankenship is opting for a new career.
Blankenship, like other individuals who have money they want to translate to power, has decided to use his fortune to run for the U.S. Senate. According to Blankenship’s official filing with the West Virginia Secretary of State and the Federal Election Commission (FEC), he has listed his address as a post office box in Williamson, West Virginia. The filing appears to contradict statements made by Blankenship and his criminal defense lawyers who have repeatedly told the federal courts that Blankenship’s “home” is in Las Vegas.
Article 1, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution states, “No person shall be a Senator … who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state from which he shall be chosen.” Technically, he still has time to establish residency in the State of West Virginia prior to election day. However, his actions since being released from prison and comments by a law enforcement official in Nevada, raise questions about how he intends to adhere to the Constitutional requirements. The convicted coal baron’s one year of supervised release ends May 9, which is one day after West Virginia’s primary election. At Blankenship’s request, his supervised release recently was transferred to a federal court in Nevada. According to press reports, a probation officer in Las Vegas also told the court that Blankenship has purchased a home in Nevada and plans to make that “his primary domicile.”
“The idea that Blankenship is running for the U.S. Senate should be enough to keep the citizens of West Virginia, and the rest of the country for that matter, up at night,” said Secretary-Treasurer Allen. “On the surface, some people might think this situation is laughable, but we need to take this very seriously. His track record, while operating Massey Energy, was horrendous. We cannot take the chance of him becoming a Senator.” “I would suggest that the Constitutional questions that have been raised about Blankenship’s ability to run for a Senate seat in West Virginia while living in Nevada are legitimate concerns. However, let’s not forget who we are discussing here,” said President Roberts. “He had absolutely no respect for the law while operating Massey Energy, so I have no doubt that he isn’t too concerned about the requirements contained in the United States Constitution. His contempt for anything that is not about him, is just who Don is.”