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Progressive Group Files Complaint Over Romney Coal Mine Ads

A progressive group has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission over TV ads created by Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign. Progress Ohio says TV ads airing in Ohio and West Virginia show miners who were required to be a Romney event at a mine in Beallsville near Zanesville last month. Brian Rothenberg from Progress Ohio says the required attendance of the miners needs to be disclosed as a contribution to Romney from the company and its owner. And Rothenberg says those miners have reported getting a contradictory message from the company’s management. “They were told that it was mandatory, even though he said that it wasn’t required. Clearly this was sort of a bully atmosphere that they put together, and therefore this has to be reported as a campaign contribution on behalf of Murray Energy," Rothenberg says. Rothenberg also he thinks the company may have broken federal election law if workers were forced to be at the event, which amounts to a coerced contribution. Rothenberg wants Romney to recut the ad without pictures of the mine workers, who he says were exploited. None of the miners in the ad are part of the complaint - nor is the United Mine Workers Union, which has not endorsed either presidential candidate. A spokesman for the Romney campaign called the complaint a part of President Obama's "war on coal" and wrote in a statement: "These gimmicks by Barack Obama's left-wing allies are nothing more than an effective and pathetic attempt to distract voters."