COAL SPENDING $4 MILLION TO DEFEAT MCGRAW- Blankenship's "Charitable Giving" At $1.7 Million

Money and political control have merged in one of the USAs biggest battles for a Supreme Court seat, right here in West Virginia.

Coal and big business interests are spending over $4 million dollars to defeat Supreme Court Justice Warren McGraw because McGraw has frequently ruled against them.

Most of the millions have come from out-of-state coal corporations, but Wheeling-based "Doctors for Justice" have contributed $745,000.

Don Blankenship, the chief executive officer of Massey Coal just gave another $1.7 million to an anti-McGraw group called "For the Sake of Kids."

The issue, according to Blankenship, is McGraw's frequent rulings against the coal industry, destroying the state's economy and job base.

McGraw's Republican challenger, Brent Benjamin, said Blankenship's huge contributions would not sway his decision-making if he were elected.

"For the Sake of the Kids" has spent $2.4 million on a series of ads calling McGraw soft on crime for voting to give convicted sex offender Tony D. Arbaugh Jr. another chance at probation.

Most of the $2.4 million came from 12 donors, like coal producers Jenmar Corporation in Pennsylvania and Nelson Brothers in Alabama.

Blankenship, who has headed Massey since 1992, earns about $6 million dollars a year. He described his contribution to help Benjamin win as "charitable giving."

Blankenship said, after the election, he plans to set up a charitable foundation to help buy clothing for poor West Virgina children.