Joe Manchin

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Joe Manchin is a U.S. Senator for West Virginia

Joe Manchin III is a Democratic U.S. Senator from West Virginia since November 2010. Previously he was governor of West Virginia 2005 to 2010.[1]


2008 elections

Manchin was a superdelegate in the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

2010 elections

Then governor Manchin called for a special election to be held November 2010 to replace Sen. Robert Byrd (D) who died June 28, 2010 at age 92. Manchin appointed a placeholder senator, Carte Goodwin (D) in July 2010. Manchin then ran for the Senate seat himself and beat Republican John Raese in the November 2010 election and was sworn in less than two weeks later.[1]

Money in politics

Coal Contributions

According to, Joe Manchin (D-WV) received $345,171 between 2009 and 10 from fossil fuel companies, with 81% coming from coal and energy companies and 19% from oil companies.[2]

In October 2010, the New York Times reported that the coal industry, facing a host of new EPA health and safety regulations, is spending millions of dollars in lobbying and campaign donations for the November 2 election to influence the makeup of the next Congress in hopes of derailing what one industry official called an Obama administration “regulatory jihad.” The article found that political spending by the coal industry is on track to exceed that of the 2008 cycle: As of the beginning of October 2010, coal mining companies had collectively contributed nearly $3 million to federal candidates, with three-quarters of the money going to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), a nonpartisan group that tracks campaign spending. Among the largest recipients of coal money are Republican and Democratic members who have sponsored or voted for measures to block new EPA regulations on climate change.

Two Senate candidates, Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, and Gov. Manchin of West Virginia, have received sizable industry donations. The political action committee of Representative John Boehner of Ohio, received more than $300,000 from mining interests, most of it from coal companies. The industry is counting on Boehner to reverse the current Democratic leadership’s refusal to allow a vote on the measure blocking EPA greenhouse gas regulation.[3]

Coal and Manchin

September 2010: West Virginia Gov. Manchin sues federal government over mountaintop removal regulations

On September 30, 2010, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin announced the state is suing the federal government over "strict mountaintop removal coal mining controls" put into place in 2009, saying the regulations are hurting the state's economy. The suit is against the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. In a statement, the EPA said it would fight the suit and claimed West Virginia hasn't done enough to balance the ecological and economical concerns over mining. Manchin is in a tight race against Republican John Raese, who has accused the governor of not being a strong enough backer of the coal industry.[4]

Gov. Manchin alleged that no specific law or government regulation has kept the permits from passing, only a political policy agenda specifically coming from the executive branch of government. The governor argued that certain federal government entities including the EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of the Interior delayed the issuance of 23 pending coal mining permits in West Virginia with only 2 being approved since 2009.[5]

October 2010: Republican ad against Manchin pulled

In October 2010, a GOP committee pulled a television ad from broadcast after reports that men featured in the ad – who were supposed to be “Regular Joes’’ in West Virginia – were actors in Pittsburgh. The ad characterized West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin as a rubber stamp for the Obama Administration. But the men in the ad, shown talking to each other in a diner, were actors who had responded to a casting call seeking people with a “'Hicky' Blue Collar look,” Politico reported. The ad was shot in Philadelphia. The ad was paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, but the casting call was written by a talent agency. Opponent John Raese’s campaign distanced itself from the ad, saying that no one in the campaign had anything to do with it and that the bigger issue is that voters don’t want their representatives voting lockstep with the White House.[6]

Manchin protested by Tea Party as not pro-coal enough

On October 24, 2010, Gov. Joe Manchin went to a "Friends of Coal" rally in Logan, WV, where he was greeted by protesters from the local tea party -- the West Virginia Coalfield Tea Party Patriots. They said opponent John Raese, a business mogul and three-time failed candidate in statewide races, was the real friend of coal and waved signs with slogans such as "Obama says vote Democrat," "Obama, One Big Ass Mistake America," and "Kill Liberalism." Shaun Adkins, a lumber yard manager and founder of the local tea party chapter, said Manchin could not be trusted to support the coal industry in Washington.[7]

The protests came despite the fact that Manchin has sued the U.S. EPA over new regulations on mountaintop removal coal mining, and his campaign is running an advertisement opposing the cap-and-trade bill the House passed last year, the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill. Manchin has the endorsement of the West Virginia Coal Association and the United Mine Workers of America in the race to complete the term of the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D). But Raese has been campaigning saying the governor will be a "rubber stamp" for the Obama administration's attempts to regulate the industry's mining and carbon dioxide emissions.[7]

Manchin appointed to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

In January 2011, the Senate committee with primary jurisdiction for U.S. energy policy - the Energy and Natural Resources Committee - added Joe Manchin to the panel. Led by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., the committee plans to draft legislation that sets guidelines for how much electricity comes from sources such as coal, natural gas, and renewable energy. Manchin won his seat after using climate-change legislation for target practice in a 2010 ad.[8]

Financial ties to coal company

On his financial disclosures for 2009 and 2010, Manchin reported significant earnings from Enersystems Inc., a coal brokerage that he helped run. In the 19 months before winning his Senate seat, Manchin reported operating income of $1,363,916 from Enersystems. His next disclosure showed $417,255 in Enersystems income. Public records and media reports show that Manchin handed day-to-day control of Enersystems to his son after being elected West Virginia secretary of State in 2000 and moved his company holdings into a blind trust between 2005 and 2010, while he served as governor.[9]


Washington, DC
311 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510
Phone: 202-224-3954
Fax: 202-228-0002

Charleston Office
300 Virginia Street, East
Suite 2630
Charleston, WV 25301
Phone: 304-342-5855
Fax: 304-343-7144

Eastern Panhandle Office
217 West King Street
Room 238
Martinsburg, WV 25401
Phone: 304-264-4626
Fax: 304-262-3039


Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 Joe Manchin III profile, The Washington Post, accessed January 2011.
  2. Brendan DeMelle, "Coal Money And Violent Rhetoric Hold Appalachia Captive to Dirty Energy" HuffPo, Jan. 21, 2011.
  3. John Broeder, "Coal Industry Spending to Sway Next Congress" NY Times, Oct. 29, 2010.
  4. Christopher Weber, "West Virginia Sues Federal Government Over Mining Restrictions" Politics Daily, October 6, 2010.
  5. "W. Virginia Suing EPA Over Delayed Coal Mine Permits" Paul Darin, The Epoch Times, October 11, 2010.
  6. "GOP Ad Pulled After Casting Controversy" WSJ, Oct. 8, 2010.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "W.Va. Tea Party Questions Democrat's Coal Credentials After Industry Rally" NY Times, Oct. 25, 2010.
  8. "Manchin on energy panel" Pittsburgh, January 30, 2011.
  9. "Sen. Manchin Maintains Lucrative Ties to Family-Owned Coal Company" NY Times, July 26, 2011.