More Republican CEOs Harass Their Employees About The Election
This is getting ridiculous. For the third time in less than a week, Republican CEOs have threatened their employees with “consequences” should President Barack Obama win the election.
In this case, it’s the billionaire Koch Brothers, the driving force behind many of the extreme right political campaigns in the country. In These Times reports on a mailer sent to 45,000 employees of the Koch subsidiary Georgia Pacific, which warned that the tens of thousands of workers “may suffer” under the conditions created by a second Obama administration. The mailer also contained pro-Romney and anti-Obama op-eds written by the brothers, and a list politicians that Koch Industries supports. In at least once state, the list was entirely Republican.
The company claims that the information was sent “at the request of many employees.” (Sure, I bet they were begging to be told how to vote.)
To be fair, the Koch brothers were smart enough not to warn that the employees’ jobs or livelihoods were at risk- only the general economic fate of their nation.
Last week, billionaire David Siegel, CEO of Westgate Resorts, emailed all of his employees to say that a second Obama term would mean “fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.” In an astonishingly self-important letter, Siegel insists that his company is in great shape, and that he lives modestly despite working harder than anyone else. Siegel recently attracted attention for the documentary Queen of Versailles, which depicts him and his free-spending former-beauty-queen wife as they attempt to build the biggest private home in America amidst the market crash of 2008.
The film also features Siegel in an interview declaring that he is “personally responsible” for George W. Bush‘s 2000 victory in the state, and that “it may not have been necessarily legal.”
And just days after Siegel’s email, a software CEO warned over 1,000 employees that a second Obama term would likely cause the company to lose it’s “independence,” using that word repeatedly and without clarification throughout.
Honest question: How is this not voter intimidation or workplace harassment Maybe it only counts if the CEOs blatantly say, “Vote for this guy or you’re fired.” Siegel and the software CEO come awfully close to that, but all are carefully to couch their bullying in “concern” for their employees and cries of free speech.
As Citizens United has guaranteed, the “free speech” of the employees and their unions is sure to be drowned out by corporate dollars, if it is allowed at all. Koch Industries has strict prohibitions regarding public statements by employees.
On the other side, the weakness of accusations of voter intimidation lobbed at liberals shows just how one-sided this issue is. A group calling itself the New Black Panther Party was videotapped acting inappropriately at a single Philadelphia polling station in 2008; they were sued by the Obama Justice Department, have been denounced as a hate group by progressive organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center, and have no influence whatsoever in liberal politics. But that doesn’t stop the conservative media from interviewing them every few weeks.
Similarly, Fox News reported last month that one or two FAA supervisors may have told a few employees that a Democratic congress would be better for their job security. Maybe. According to one guy. Who says he can’t remember exactly what was said. And the Obama administration has still literally launched a federal investigation into it.
Compare that to a bunch of Republican CEOs who put their intimidation in writing, and made it public- and will probably get away scott free.