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Coal-Mining Contributions in the States

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The nation's coal-mining industry - beset this year with a startlingly high number of fatalities to date - has often sought the ear of the officials who decide state-level matters affecting the industry.

Since the 2000 election cycle, the industry has contributed at least $8.57 million to state-level political candidates and party committees, concentrating its giving most heavily in the coal-rich states of Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Contributions in those four states totaled nearly $5.9 million, representing 71 percent of the industry's contributions. The industry also focused its biggest contributions on some of the top officeholders in the states - typically candidates running for governor - or the political party committees that dole out money to candidates and undertake other activities, such as advertisements and mailings, that support their slates of candidates.