This article originally provided by The Register-Herald

September 22, 2006

Blankenship says Casey ‘lying’ about illegal workers

By Mannix Porterfield

Democratic Chairman Nick Casey is “lying” in claiming Don Blankenship has hired illegal aliens from Mexico to work at Massey Energy installations, the chief executive officer of the mining firm countered Thursday.

Casey cited a published account of an illegal alien working at a mountaintop mine removal site near Elk Run whose status was exposed after an arrest for drunken driving that led to a 4-year-old’s death on W.Va. 3.

“How does importing foreign workers and giving them jobs help West Virginia?” the Charleston attorney asked.

“What about the kids whose parents are out of work or who are working for low pay with no benefits? Couldn’t they benefit from the jobs that Mr. Blankenship is handing out to people who are illegal workers and workers imported from foreign countries?”

Blankenship said Casey is trying to divert attention from the matter of how Democrats in the House voted on key issues by refusing to discharge committees where such matters as the food tax elimination, a constitutional amendment on marriage and parental notification on minor abortions were bottled up.

“Simply put, Casey is lying and he knows it,” he said. “We have no, none, zero illegal workers on our payroll that I have any knowledge of. Additionally, we never have.”

Blankenship said Casey couched his remarks from a 2001 article in The Charleston Gazette for which the newspaper ran a retraction five days later.

In his statement, however, Casey quoted a Gazette story in this year’s Sept. 10 edition about an illegal involved in the fatal traffic accident, and the 2001 one that quoted U.S. Coal Review about Massey importing 85 miners to work in Kentucky mines.

“For the record, I’m one of the few members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that openly favors sending all illegals back to where they came from,” Blankenship said.

Casey and Blankenship locked horns this summer after the latter vowed to spend “whatever it takes” to oust certain Democrats from the House. Blankenship is running a media campaign targeting certain incumbents while donating money to their opponents.

“This past session, the House of Delegates voted to allow drunk drivers to keep their licenses and to continue killing West Virginians on the highways at the rate of two per week,” he said.

Casey accused Blankenship of “hypocrisy” in using a group named And For The Sake Of The Kids while hiring illegal workers that denied jobs to the parents of West Virginia children.

“Mr. Blankenship needs to come clean about how many foreign workers are employed by Massey or by firms like Minserco (a Wisconsin outfit) who are acting as subcontractors for Massey,” the chairman said.

In turn, Blankenship called the political process in this state “nasty” and explains why many are willing to walk away and leave the “liars” in charge.

“In my case, I remain willing to take their abuse in the hope that child abuse, poverty and drunk driving deaths can all be reduced and that West Virginia’s social beliefs will be protected,” he added.

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