Your Vote or Your Job
October 19, 2012 8:58 am
By: Matthew McDermott
This has been a legendary election for right-wing billionaires; Citizens United has allowed business and political interests to collide in an unprecedented manner. As reported earlier this week, the Koch Brothers were not content to support the Romney campaign with a bloated SuperPAC alone, and sent a directed mailing to 45,000 Georgia Pacific employees implying that a Romney presidency was in the best interest of Georgia Pacific (and by extension, their jobs). Billionaire Westgate Resorts CEO David Sigel took it one further, issuing a letter to employees stating that an Obama reelection would threaten the jobs of Westgate employees.
It seems that these vaguely threatening communiques have the tacit approval of Mitt Romney. In a story that went viral yesterday, Mike Elk reported on a June 6th conference call with a group of “small business owners.” Romney said:
(Around 26:00 minutes)
I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. And whether you agree with me or you agree with President Obama, or whatever your political view, I hope, I hope you pass those along to your employees.
Elk also has Marquette University Law Professor Paul Secunda’s comments on Citizens’ United’s subtle encouragement of the heavy-handed recommendations:
…there is not much political protection for at-will employees in the private sector workplace,”It is conceivable, under the current legal regime, that an employer like Koch could actually get away with forcing his employees, on pains of termination, to campaign for a given candidate or political party.
In the conference call, Romney went on to say that he thought it was perfectly legal to tell employees which candidate is “best for business.” In practice, when a letter stating a vote for one candidate will result in layoffs, employees are presented with a false dichotomy — your vote or your job.
Image from here