By: Kyle James | 08-28-2017 | News
Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

Ohio's Coal Industry Bailed out by Trump on Lewandowski's Recommendation

An investigation in Russian interference into United States Presidential elections has brought anything potentially related to President Trump under scrutiny, including his top aides. What do an Ohio electric utility and one of the nation's top coal companies have in common? They both had some inside help in the form of Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. When the two companies sough emergency federal assistance for the coal industry, Lewandowski may have acted as their inside man in an 'unofficial' capacity.

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<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Credit: Saul Loeb</span>

The two companies used authorities designed to protect the U.S. electricity supply during emergencies by pressuring Trump to prevent utilities from closing aging coal power plants. As the two companies urged urged authorities for the federal help, the former Trump aide Lewandowski was there to help from the inside. Lewandowski has remained close to the President even after being fired over a year ago. He denied that he worked for the companies in a message he sent out Friday but senior administration officials are bothered by his potential involvement. Officials close to Trump are worried that he may have been paid by FirstEnergy and Murray Energy since they saw his role as that of a lobbyist. One thing is for sure, Lewandowski spoke in support of the utility giant's agenda during his time at the White House. He also met with other senior officials regarding the issue of emergency federal funding to the coal industry.

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<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Credit: Jessica Cheung</span>

Eventually the Energy Department decided against the action sought by the companies deeming it inappropriate but the two utilities almost succeeded. Records from the utility companies hold no information regarding whether Lewandowski was paid for his efforts. The biggest problem for most people in the Trump administration is the alarming fact that Lewandowski was working as a lobbyist but was not registered as one.

This fact alone is enough to make his actions controversial and even potentially illegal. The government will not be intervening on behalf of the failing coal companies and no indication of legal action has been announced.

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