Donald Leon Blankenship (born March 14, 1950) is an American politician, former business executive, and candidate for the United States Senate from West Virginia. He was Chairman and CEO of the Massey Energy Company—the sixth largest coal company (by 2008 production) in the United States—from 2000 until his retirement in 2010. A federal grand jury indicted Blankenship on November 13, 2014, for conspiracy to violate mandatory federal mine safety and health standards and conspiracy to impede federal mine safety officials.
As a result of the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster (in which 29 miners were killed), he faced up to 30 years in prison on several charges including felony conspiracy. On December 3, 2015, Blankenship was found guilty of one misdemeanor charge of conspiring to willfully violate mine safety and health standards. In April 2016, he was sentenced to 1 year in jail and fined $250,000 and reported to FCI Taft the next month. In January 2017, his appeal of his conviction was rejected by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. He was released from prison on May 10, 2017.
Blankenship is a financial backer of the Republican party and participant in local and state politics in his home state of West Virginia. He has frequently spoken out about politics, the environment, unions, and coal production. In 2018, he began running for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate in West Virginia. Wikipedia