As the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported earlier this week:
Even though Federal Elections Commission staff found strong indications that Murray Energy coerced campaign donations from its workers, the enforcement agency won't pursue charges against the Pepper Pike coal mining company after its oversight board deadlocked on whether to do so.
Some background from today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
The company circulated lists of salaried employees who failed to attend or contribute to political fundraisers that cost several thousand dollars per plate.
One list accompanied a September 2010 memo from Mr. Murray to his employees: “We have only a little over a month left to go in this election fight. If we do not win it, the coal industry will be eliminated and so will your job.”
Here's a Murray lawyer justifying the action:
“Like many companies, Murray Energy Corp. and its related subsidiaries have an ongoing practice of asking management personnel to make contributions to a political action committee that is administered by company managers and staff,” they wrote. “It should not be surprising that letters seeking PAC contributions try to persuade prospective donors about the potential elimination of the coal industry — and related jobs — if certain politicians are elected.”
A spokesperson from the watchdog group involved in the complaint told the Plain-Dealer:
"It's really disappointing, because this seems like a pretty clear case of something someone should not be doing . . . . An organization or employer should not be intimidating its employees to contribute politically."