Charleston Gazette-Mail | Energy industry fills Senate candidates’ coffers in WV

Gazette-Mail file photo

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., (right) and Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., tour a residential infant drug recovery center in Huntington in 2015. Jenkins is challenging Manchin for his Senate seat in the 2018 election.

The energy industry might be hedging its bets in a 2018 U.S. Senate race that is likely to be hotly contested.

In an analysis of campaign contributions from Jan. 1 to March 31, various direct stakeholders in America’s oil, gas and coal sectors, including firms’ employees or corporate political action committees, contributed $54,600 to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., for his 2018 re-election bid. They also contributed $56,550 to his strongest announced challenger, Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., who announced plans to contest Manchin last week.

Along with the direct stakeholders, indirect stakeholders, including employees of law firms that practice (although not exclusively) in energy law, corporate PACs under the same or similar firms and energy consulting groups contributed $39,200 to Manchin and $8,450 to Jenkins.

All Jenkins’ contributions mentioned came in before he announced his Senate run.

Unless an outside or unannounced candidate wins, some companies’ PACs are guaranteed to have picked a winner, as they have contributed to both mainstream campaigns.

For instance, PACs registered under energy companies such as ExxonMobil, Honeywell, Arch Coal, General Electric, the American Petroleum Institute and Dominion Energy, along with COALPAC (tied to the National Mining Association) donated to both campaigns.

Along with the campaign contributions, Manchin and Jenkins have a vested interest in energy, as well.

According to Manchin’s 2016 Senate financial disclosure forms, he owns Enersystems Inc., a coal company. His stake in the firm is valued between $500,000 and $1 million, and he earned $365,635 from it in 2016.

He also owns…

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