A new television ad from the Romney campaign touting coal as a reliable source of energy features a group of miners from Beallsville, Ohio, who were allegedly required to attend the candidate’s rally there last month.
The miners standing behind Romney at the event also lost pay for the day when the mine shut down on Aug. 14 for security and safety reasons, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, and some workers feared they would lose their job if they didn’t attend.
Rob Moore, the chief financial officer for Murray Energy, the mine’s owner, told WWVA radio that “attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend.” The company told the Plain Dealer in a follow-up statement that “participation was, and always has been, completely voluntary.”
In the Romney campaign’s ad, released Wednesday, a man says President Obama is “ruining the coal industry.” Obama’s energy policies are “attacking my livelihood,” another adds. The miners behind Romney during the event stand stoic in hard hats and work gear.
Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy, is a Romney supporter and Republican donor, according to the Chicago Tribune. Since the 2008 election, Murray and his wife have donated more than $450,000 to Republican candidates.
The Romney campaign did not respond to TPM’s request for comment. Watch the ad:
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