Fox News Digital obtained emails this week that show that the wife of West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin may have violated an ethics pledge.
Manchin’s wife, Gayle Manchin, serves as the federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, or ARC. She is being alleged to have violated an ethics pledge, as she advised an organization that has ties to the campaign of her husband, even though she said she’d recuse herself from any matters in which she had a “financial interest.”
The emails obtained by Fox News Digital show that Manchin advised a non-profit organization called Coalfield Development back in October of 2021. She was advising them on a grant of $62.8 million that came from the American Rescue Plan.
Ultimately, her work for the organization led it to receiving millions of dollars in funding. The issue comes in the fact that the organization is headed by the campaign committee for her husband as well as his leadership PAC’s treasurer.
Manchin signed an ethics pledge back in April of 2021 where she stated she’d recuse herself from an advisement board like this so that she would “avoid any actual or apparent conflicts of interest.”
Yet now, it seems like she violated that pledge pretty directly.
There were 21 recipients who were competing for $100 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan, and the ACT Now Coalition of Coalfield Development was one of them.
The coalition ultimately received $63 million in total grants, and gave out about $13 million of that to Marshall University and the Charleston Area Alliance, which is headed by Jack Rossi, who serves as Joe Manchin’s treasurer.
In an email sent on October 19 of 2021, Brandon Dennison, the CEO of Coalfield Development, sent Manchin his grant application to the Build Back Better plan. He stated he had spoken with her over the phone regarding their effort as “complementary and supportive of the ARC-initiated effort.”
He added that even though the process for applications was “highly competitive,” he was also “looking forward to continued collaboration” with ARC.
ARC responded to the allegations this week by giving Fox News Digital a statement. It stated:
“Federal Co-Chair Manchin does not have any financial interest in Coalfield Development, nor in the ACT Now Coalition.”
ARC added that while Manchin “encouraged organizations in Appalachia to apply” for the grants, she didn’t have any “role in approving any EDA Build Back Better applications.”
There are more dubious connections between Manchin and ARC as well. She once served on the board for Reconnecting McDowell, which serves as a partner for Coalfield Development.
While she resigned from that position when she was confirmed for her post with ARC, the website for Reconnecting McDowell still lists Manchin as one of its partners – as of April 13 of this year.
In their statement, though, ARC said:
“Gayle Manchin has never had any financial ties with Reconnecting McDowell.”