Politifact gives Blankenship a 'Pants on Fire' rating for recent ad

WASHINGTON (BY: JON GREENBERG, POLITIFACT) – Don Blankenship, the convicted executive in one of the country’s deadliest mining explosions, is running for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia, and his first television ad aims to clear his name.

“Obama’s deadliest cover-up has been uncovered by MSHA’s own documents,” the ad said. “Documents which say the MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) Upper Big Branch internal report was fixed.”

Blankenship, running as a Republican, spent a year in jail for conspiring to violate mine safety regulations. A jury found that under his leadership as CEO of Massey Energy, the company systematically refused to take steps that would have prevented a deadly combination of methane gas and coal dust that left 29 West Virginia miners dead in 2010.

He has always insisted that the fault lies with federal mining regulators who forced the company, he said, to use a defective ventilation system.

No investigation, and there have been several, has reached that conclusion.

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