Manchin's family is cashing in on waste coal – an ethics expert calls the situation ‘insane’
Photo via Mandel Ngan/AFP

According to a report from Politico, long before he became a U.S. senator and ascended to chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, Joe Manchin (D-WV) made sure his family's energy business continued to rake in millions by signing a bill that directly impacted their bottom line.

The report notes that the Democrat, who has become a thorn in the side of his colleagues as he continually stymies President Joe Biden's agenda, continues to be scrutinized over his influence over how coal is regulated -- and how it impacts his financial well-being.

Although Manchin has dismissed concerns over conflicts of interest by pointing out that his son, Joe Manchin IV, runs the family business Enersystems Inc., which was placed into a blind trust, Politico reports that he raked in $500,000 from the company last year, according to Senate financial disclosure documents.

According to Politico, a great deal of those profits come from selling "waste coal" to energy companies -- path made easier because of legislation he signed.

READ: The same far-right influencers behind the effort to overturn the 2020 election are pushing for a convoy on DC

Writing, "The muddy mix of discarded coal and rocks is one of the most carbon-intensive fuels in America," Politico's Scott Waldman adds, "Selling the scrap coal has earned Manchin millions of dollars over three decades, and he has used his political positions to protect the fuel — and a single power plant in West Virginia that burns it — from laws and regulations that also threatened his family business."

As Waldman reports, Manchin's signing of West Virginia's clean energy bill in 2009 contained a specific provision for "waste coal."

"In 2009 he used one of his last actions as governor to sign a renewable energy law. The measure was described as a way to increase the state’s amount of clean power to 25 percent by 2025," the report states. "But it also shielded the waste coal that helped build Manchin’s fortune. Classifying it as an alternative energy source allowed utilities to count it toward their renewable electricity goals."

According to government ethics attorney Walter Shaub, it is stunning that Manchin has been able to get away with it even today.

“All of this is stuff that is so insane, any person who has no interest in any of this would clearly say this should be against the rules, but then the people who get in the position to change the rules have these conflicts and they have no interest in solving them,” lamented Shaub, with the report stating there are no laws that specifically outlaw what the Democrat is doing.

Former West Virginia lawmaker Nancy Peoples Guthrie, who was still in office when Manchin signed the energy bill, "Everything that he does, everything that he did when he was governor, everything that he has done while he is a senator, is going to advance his best interest and the interest of the people who put money in his pocket, period,” adding, "That’s all you need to know about Joe Manchin.”

You can read more here.