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Names in the News: Don L. Blankenship

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Recently, the West Virginia Supreme Court decided a controversial case involving Massey Energy, a large coal company based in Virginia with operations in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. Massey's chief executive officer, Don L. Blankenship, is a potent player in the industry and in West Virginia's political arena. Blankenship contributed nearly $2.6 million of the $2.8 million given by the coal industry to independent expenditure committees in 2004 and spread another $151,000 to West Virginia candidates and committees since 2000. The contributions to independent expenditure committees - mainly to a 527 committee named And For the Sake of the Kids - helped Republican challenger Brent Benjamin oust then-sitting justice Warren McGraw, a Democrat.