Should we dismiss the recent reporting on Senator Manchin’s coal interests as old news?
Ogden’s political reporter thinks so
From Steven Allen Adams on Friday:
Can someone tell the folks crowing about the various articles detailing Manchin’s relationship w/ the Grant Town power plant that they didn’t reveal anything that hasn’t been known about for more than 20 years? It’s not hard hitting investigative reporting. It’s recycling.— Steven Allen Adams (@stevenadamswv) April 1, 2022
There have been a number of recent articles by national publications that document Senator Manchin’s ties to the coal industry. Given Adams’ mention of Grant Town, I believe that he is most likely referencing last week’s 4,000 word New York Times article by Christopher Flavelle and Julie Tate. (I wrote about it here).
By suggesting it is old news, Adams’ tweet attempts to minimize the importance of the article. (According to Adams, its recycled content and has been known “for more than 20 years.”) Yes, some of it has been out there, but, for me, the article’s importance is not in the amount of new material it uncovers. Rather, the article’s worth comes from pulling together, with documentation, the extent to which Senator Manchin is involved and profits from his coal connections. This is especially important since Manchin can, for the most part, single-handedly stop any legislation that threatens the coal industry.
What do West Virginian’s know about Senator Manchin’s coal connections?
I would think that a majority of West Virginians know that Manchin has ties to coal, and some might be familiar with the Grant Town power plant. Do they know the extent of Manchin’s coal involvement and the income that he has derived from it? I doubt it. From the Times article:
But the bulk of Mr. Manchin’s reported income since entering the Senate has come from one company: Enersystems, Inc., which he founded with his brother Roch Manchin in 1988, the year before the Grant Town plant got a permit from the state of West Virginia.
Enersystems Inc. is now run by Mr. Manchin’s son, Joseph Manchin IV. In 2020, it paid Mr. Manchin $491,949, according to his filings, almost three times his salary as a United States senator. From 2010 through 2020, Mr. Manchin reported a total of $5.6 million from the company.
(I plugged “Enersystems” and “Wheeling Intelligencer” into a couple of search engine to see when and how our local paper has reported on Manchin’s company. Nothing came up. If local residents are knowledgeable about the company, it is not likely from reading Adams or the Intelligencer.)
What does the rest of America know about Joe Manchin and his ties to coal?
My hunch is that some Americans know that Manchin has coal connections. I doubt, however, that many are familiar with Grant Town or Enersystems or the income that Manchin derives from coal. For those readers, the Times article documents these and other connections -- thus providing additional information for assessing Manchin’s votes on climate-related legislation.
By the way, reporter/editor Erin Beck also reacted to Adams:
If vitally-important political information is so old that some current voters were not alive the last time you wrote about or read it, maybe dust it off instead of expecting people just trying to get through their daily lives to dig through newspaper archives in their free time— Erin Beck (@3littleredbones) April 3, 2022