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Dirty Dollars Flow to Mark Obenshain; Time for the Good Guys to Step Up for Mark Herring


Yesterday, we learned that Republican Attorney General nominee Mark “Criminalize Miscarriages” Obenshain raised a wad o’ cash – $480k to be exact. Where that money came from gives us a good indication of the type of Attorney General Mark Obenshain would be, if god forbid this Cuccinelli clone were actually to be elected this November. For starters, let’s look at his donations from dirty energy (coal, oil, uranium).

Energy (Oil/Coal/Natural Gas/Uranium)

Gilliam Companies and Family: $60,000

Holtzman Oil Companies and Family: $20,000

Alpha Natural Resources and Executives: $15,000

Koch Industries: $10,000

Coal Association: $2,500

Range Resources: $2,500

VA Uranium: $1,000

Total: $111,000

FYI, Richard Baxter Gilliam is the founder Cumberland Resources Corp, a private coal mining company in Abingdon. Marvin Gilliam is “an executive of Cumberland Resources Corp., a subsidiary of Alpha Natural Resources, which operates coal and lignite mines in southwestern Virginia and eastern Kentucky.” William B. Holtzman is “President of the Holtzman Oil Corp, a fuel distributor in the Shenandoah Valley.” Koch Industries is these scumbags. Virginia Uranium, of course, is infamous for literally flying Virginia legislators and their families to France to tour uranium operations (aka, try to buy our legislators by wining and dining them in Gay Paree). Alpha Natural Resources is a large coal producer which gave Ken Cuccinelli a flight – worth $7,751 – to the Virginia Mining Association ceremony in 2012. In 2010, Alpha was sued “by property owners in West Virginia…for subsidence damage and ruined groundwater due to ‘reprehensible, intentional, and grossly negligent’ conduct in mining operations.” On and on it goes, and to put it mildly, it’s not a pretty picture.

Of course, all these gifts and contributions to the Cuccinellis and Obenshains of the world does not come out of the goodness of these companies’ hearts. In the case of climate-science-denying, anti-clean-energy Ken Cuccinelli, I think that Raven, VA landowner Shirley Keene explains it very well: Cuccinelli favors fossil fuel companies over the people of southwestern Virginia. In the case of Mark Obenshain, who has stated that Ken Cuccinelli would be a model for him as Attorney General, we can look at bills like this one (“Provides that the Attorney General may not issue a civil investigative demand to a Virginia public institution of higher education when the claim relates to a matter of academic inquiry or research”), which he voted AGAINST, for an idea of where his priorities lie. That’s right, Obenshain apparently supported Ken Cuccinelli’s witch hunt against leading climate scientist Michael Mann. Why? Obviously, to serve the interests of the fossil fuel companies, whose goal is to milk every last bit of profit out of the earth, before they make the planet completely uninhabitable. Is this someone we’d want as Attorney General of Virginia? God no.

So let’s make damn sure that doesn’t happen. One way you can do that is by giving generously to Mark Herring, named a  “legislative hero” by the League of Conservation Voters and strongly endorsed by climate scientist Michael Mann, the one Cuccinelli persecuted. Also, a message to my friends in the pro-environment community: Mark Herring needs your financial help. Note that, so far, the bad guys have been stepping up, big time, for Mark Obenshain. Now, it’s time for the good guys – the people who care about clean air and water over dirty energy profits – to step up as well. Because if they’re not happy with Ken Cuccinelli’s environmental record as Attorney General, they certainly aren’t going to be happy with his clone, Mark Obenshain’s.


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