McConnell Steered Money To Russia-Linked Plant, Then Denied Funds To US Miners

Screengrab/MSNBC/YouTube

JakeThomas

Mitch McConnell blocked an attempt to help coal miners while steering funds toward a Russia-linked aluminum company.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell worked to block a measure last month that would have shifted funds from the U.S. Treasury Department to help cover coal miners’ pensions and health care — but just a few months prior, the Kentucky Republican successfully steered funds from the same place toward a Russian-backed aluminum company in his home state.

According to The Daily Beast, the money was drawn from a Treasury Department fund for Appalachian development, set up in light of the coal industry’s downfall and subsequent economic woes the region now faces.

But McConnell blocked a bipartisan bill introduced by Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) in 2018 that aimed to help miners using that money.

“There are amendments that benefit Americans and West Virginians that are being blocked by one person: Mitch McConnell,” Manchin said in a statement at the time. “He is the sole person that is blocking a vote on my amendment to… secure coal miners’ health care and pensions, even though it has bipartisan support and would better the lives of every West Virginian, Kentuckian and American.”

Instead, the Republican worked to better aluminum company Braidy Industries, which boasts as an investor Russian aluminum giant Rusal — formerly headed by President Vladimir Putin ally Oleg Deripaska.

McConnell voted in January 2018 to lift sanctions on the Russian company, a move decried by Democrats and even some Republicans on Capitol Hill. In April of the same year, Rusal announced it would invest $200 million in Kentucky’s Braidy Industries, making the Russian company Braidy’s only outside investor.

What was not known or reported previously is the extent to which McConnell was connected to the Rusal-Braidy plant.

The Daily Beast reported that the senate majority leader “was advocating for federal funds to be diverted to help with construction of the Braidy plant in Kentucky” at precisely the same time that Rusal was lobbying the Trump administration to be removed from the U.S. sanctions list.

In October 2018, McConnell, Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY), and Kentucky officials announced that two companies, EastPark Industrial and Ashland Alliance, would receive $4 million from the Appalachian fund “for general sewer and road repair on 204 acres of land.”

But in March 2019, those companies announced the money would not go toward general repairs. Instead, the funds would be used to prepare for construction on the Braidy aluminum plant.

“Ashland Alliance and EastPark will only be applying the $4 million to the Braidy Site preparation,” wrote Ashland Alliance president Tim Gibbs in an email from March 2019 reviewed by The Daily Beast. “The $4 million in AML funds will enable Braidy to complete the $14 million total investment to stabilize the site for high precision manufacturing.”

Two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told The Daily Beast that “McConnell went to bat for the applicants during the internal review process and was instrumental in helping them secure the federal funding.”

It was just as preparations for the aluminum plan construction began that McConnell blocked Manchin’s bill to help out American miners.

Read the full report.

Comments (7)
No. 1-6
VSHAF
VSHAF

Mitch is not serving his country he is serving Trumps personal wishes only. Both need to be gone.

MarkmBha1
MarkmBha1

JAIL AWAITS.

Beebusyhoney
Beebusyhoney

How long does Mitch and the Trump administration think they can go with this Destructiveness. They have for gotten the old saying. "What goes up must come down". Greed has taken them over and the people... forgotten

Dwest6996
Dwest6996

The government doesn’t need to bailout pension or healthcare plans.

Readerv
Readerv

Everything about the Aluminum Plant deal was wrong. From the reduction in United States Clean Water Act to allow heavy metals, not seen in the past 40 years, back into our water to the 50 million in Treasury dept.kickbacks. It never should have reached the drawing board.

Kradek
Kradek

Remember that Moscow's Bitch reduced the per ton fee that mines paid to support the Black Lung Fund by 65%, effectively bankrupting it. So tax payer will have to fund the miners health care.


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