The claims have been mostly denied by Rob Moore, Chief Financial Officer of Murray Energy Company, which owns the mine. He acknowledges that workers weren’t paid that day but says no one was made to attend the event. Well, kind of.
“Our managers communicated to our workforce that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend,” he told local news radio WWVA, which has received several emails from workers claiming that the company records names of workers that don’t attend those types of events.
The company’s interest in having its employees show support for Romney may be a result of its CEO’s close ties with the presumptive Republican nominee. In May, Romney teamed up with Murray’s CEO Bob Murray for a fundraising event in West Virginia. And Murray’s made no secret of his support for the Republican party, previously backing Rick Perry.
In addition, his company has donated more than $900,000 to Republican candidates in the last two years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Murray, who is also a climate-change denier, has been an outspoken critic of President Obama’s stance on coal. That view may be why Moore told WWVA that having employees attend the Romney event “was in the best interest of anyone that’s related to the coal industry in this area or the entire country.