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Blankenship fails to turn in financial disclosure for Senate race by deadline

Don Blankenship, the former coal executive convicted of violating federal mine safety standards who is now running for the U.S. Senate, has failed to turn in a required disclosure that would offer a glimpse into his personal finances.

Reports to the U.S. Select Committee on Ethics were due 30 days before the election. Sunday was that deadline.

Of the eight candidates vying for the seat, Blankenship is the only one without a disclosure posted online as of Monday afternoon. However, the original disclosure of GOP primary candidate Jack Newbrough does not list his personal income, assets, liabilities and other select information. He has since amended the filing with his income.

Blankenship is running in the Republican primary, where Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, Bo Copley and Tom Willis have all filed.

In the Democratic primary, incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Paula Jean Swearengin have filed, as well.

Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va, filed his disclosure with the House of Representatives, where he currently serves.

An employee with the Senate Office of Public Records said Monday there was no indication that the office had received and not yet processed Blankenship’s records.

Financial disclosures contain information regarding candidates’ sources of income, financial holdings, debts, board positions held and financial agreements.

Committee rules require candidates to file their disclosures at least 30 days before an election. All disclosure reports filed after the deadline subject a filer to a $200 penalty. Individuals who fail to file their disclosures can be subject to a fine of up to $50,000 or criminal prosecution.

Politico reported in March that Blankenship had spent more than $1.1 million on campaign ads and media buys at the time. The former Massey Energy executive also has skipped the political fundraising process and self-financed the first quarter of his campaign with a $400,000 loan.

Blankenship was released from a yearlong federal prison sentence in May. He had been convicted of conspiring to violate mine safety and health standards at Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine, where 29 employees died in a 2010 explosion.

A spokesman for Blankenship did not respond to repeated inquiries.

While exact details of Blankenship’s finances were not made public during the trial, federal prosecutors have described him in court records as “immensely wealthy.”

In one report, NPR estimated that Blankenship might have made as much as $18 million during his last year as Massey’s CEO and that he received a $12 million payment when he left the company, as it was preparing to be bought out by Alpha Natural Resources.

During the sentencing phase of his criminal proceedings, Blankenship’s lawyers opposed a motion to provide the U.S. Probation Office or the prosecutors “any information pertaining to his financial condition.” Prosecutors requested the information for the court to evaluate sentencing, fines and criminal restitution.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger ruled that the request for financial information was moot after she rejected an order for him to pay restitution.

Staff writer Ken Ward Jr. contributed to this report.

Reach Jake Zuckerman at jake.zuckerman@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4814 or follow @jake_zuckerman on Twitter.

Funerals for Sunday, February 16, 2020

Atkins, Linda - 3 p.m., Fidler & Frame Funeral Home, Belle.

Call, James - 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Hankins, Sara - 1 p.m., McGhee-Handley Funeral Home, West Hamlin.

Hensley, Joshua - 2 p.m., Evans Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Chapmanville.

Jackson, Jeffrey - 6 p.m., Lantz Funeral Home, Buckeye.

Jobe, Joe - 2:30 p.m., Sunset Memorial Park Mausoleum Chapel, South Charleston.

Johnson, Freda - 2 p.m., Kanawha Valley Memorial Gardens, Glasgow.

Ratcliff, James - 3 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.