Blankenship’s Senate campaign papers made public

By KEN WARD JR.

Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Federal records made public Tuesday show that former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is officially a candidate and has formed the Don Blankenship for U.S. Senate campaign committee.

Blankenship listed as his address a post office box in Williamson, according to the filings released Tuesday by the Federal Elections Commission.

(File photo)
Over the last three years, Blankenship and his criminal defense lawyers repeatedly told the federal courts that Blankenship’s “home” was in Las Vegas. Under the U.S. Constitution, “No person shall be a Senator … who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state from which he shall be chosen.”
The FEC records show Blankenship signed his “statement of candidacy” on Nov. 30, which was last Thursday. The records show the forms were stamped last Friday as having been received by the secretary of the Senate, where candidate filings go before being forwarded to the FEC.

Blankenship joins Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the Republican primary for the seat being held by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

Earlier this year, Blankenship was released from federal custody after spending a year in prison following his conviction for conspiring to violate mine safety and health standards at Massey’s Upper Big Branch, where an April 2010 explosion killed 29 miners.

In January, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Blankenship’s conviction and, in October, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of that decision.

Blankenship’s one year of supervised release ends May 9, which is one day after West Virginia’s primary election. At Blankenship’s request, his supervised release recently was transferred to federal court in Nevada.

A probation officer there told the court that Blankenship has purchased a home in Las Vegas and plans to make that “his primary domicile.”

Prosecutors described Blankenship as “immensely wealthy,” and Blankenship said he’s already spent “several million dollars” on an ad campaign saying he was wrongly convicted.

Staff writer Jake Zuckerman contributed to this report.

Reach Ken Ward Jr. at [email protected], 304-348-1702, or follow @kenwardjr on Twitter.

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