Ohio coal giant Murray Energy gave to dark money group at center of bribery scandal


Murray Energy gave $100,000 to the dark money group at the center of the alleged Ohio bribery and racketeering scheme to pass legislation bailing out coal and nuclear interests in the state, according to joint reporting from Cincinnati Enquirer and Columbus Dispatch.

Bankruptcy filings made by Murray Energy Corp show the company gave $100,000 to Hardworking Ohioans Inc. (HOI), identified in the federal criminal complaint as “Dark Money Group 1,” in October 2016. Murray’s contribution to HOI came as the group was making a flurry of media buys supporting candidates that backed former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder’s bid to become Speaker of the House. The householder was the most prominent of five top politicians, lobbyists, and operatives arrested on federal bribery and racketeering charges last month. The now-bankrupt Murray Energy — at one time the largest privately owned coal company in the US — was founded and run by Robert Murray until it filed for bankruptcy last fall. Murray is a longtime Republican supporter and a major contributor to President Trump, and the company’s former lobbyist Andrew Wheeler is now the head of the EPA.

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