Ohio Democrats are pushing for state and federal investigations of a coal executive’s requests for employees to donate money to the Republican Party, charging that his fundraising tactics amount to violations of campaign finance laws.
But according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
, Robert Murray, head of Murray Energy, says his fundraising memos have been going out to employees for several years seeking donations to pro-coal candidates regardless of party and are within federal election guidelines.
Murray said about 19 percent of his employees contribute, but he doesn’t see the names of those who do, or don't.
Murray and his employees have given more than $720,000 to state office candidates and millions more to national candidates and PACs, The Post-Gazette said, citing state donation records say. His fundraising efforts lately have focused on helping Mitt Romney, and Murray charges that the Democratic complaints are designed embarrass the Republican nominee in the key battleground state of Ohio.
"It's timed to shut me up," Murray said. "It's a dishonest, totally false and fabricated group of charges to embarrass Gov. Mitt Romney, my family, our company and me."
The state Democratic Party sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio and the national Federal Elections Commission (FEC), urging an investigation.
The FEC has told Murray he has 15 days to respond to the letter, which included allegations of “extortion, money laundering and racketeering."
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has also filed an FEC complaint against Murray on similar charges.
Murray's political activism was highlighted earlier this year after some of his company workers complained they were forced to attend a campaign rally for Romney at one of Murray's coal mines.
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