Coal company deal was a boon to the GOP

By Laurie Bennett

July 17, 2012 at 9:12am

Two years ago, Massey Energy Company paid $960 million for Cumberland Resources, one of the largest privately held coal producers in the U.S.

It was a good deal for the Cumberland founder Richard Gilliam and his family, and it was a good deal for the Republican Party.

Since the acquisition, Gilliam has contributed almost $900,000 to Republican causes. Of that total, $750,000 went to American Crossroads, the super PAC started by GOP operative Karl Rove.

The outside group has banked almost $30 million to finance ads attacking President Obama and other Democrats.

Gilliam and his wife were among supporters thanked by the Koch brothers during their June 2011 retreat in Aspen, according to Mother Jones.

The Gilliams are also frequent contributors to Republican activities in their home state of Virginia. Richard Gilliam was co-chair of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s inauguration in 2009. McDonnell, in turn, has appointed family members to university boards.

Gilliam is currently president of another private company, Cumberland Development. He is an investor and director of Vancouver-based Endurance Gold Corporation.

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