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Koch Bros. Tell Employees How To Vote

Koch Bros. Tell Employees How To Vote

The Koch brothers get a lot of attention because they dump millions of dollars into conservative causes and candidates.  But the scope of their influence reaches even further than their astroturf campaigns and strategy conferences. 

According the The Nation, Koch Industries sent an “urgent” letter to most of its 50,000 employees advising them who to vote for and warning them about the “dire consequences” that would come to their families, their jobs and their country should the employee decided to vote against Koch Industries recommendations.

Once again we can thank Citizens United for this disturbing development in corporate politicking.  Prior to the controversial ruling, federal election law let a company talk to its board about candidates and issues but was prohibited from those kinds of efforts with employees because they were seen as potentially coercive and corruptive to the electoral process.  The Citizens United ruling obliterated that distinction.

Given the long history of political involvement in the electoral process, it’s reasonable to think Koch Industries is on the forefront of this new wave of voter intimidation.  Even the disclosures obtained by The Nation in support of their story show that it was for the November midterms that Koch Industries made “voter education packets” available to employees. 

That means we can expect other employers to follow suit, if they haven’t already.

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photo courtesy of hjl via Flickr

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8:16PM PDT on May 7, 2011

There are times, when I flip channels and watch Faux news for a few minutes at a time. Actually, that's all I can take.

Today, on one of the Saturday morning stock programs, one of Rupert Murdoch's brain-washed commentators, in fact stated, "Who would you rather have run your country - the government or 'free enterprise'?
What's most absorbing is the fact, that we are supposed to believe that CONPORATE CONTROL of our government, as we know it, is called 'free enterprise'.
Now, that's quite amazing, when you consider, that government officials can be voted out of office, but corporate 'big wigs' cannot. '

What's that old saying, 'You can fool some of the people, some of the time, but, you can't fool all of the people, all the time'?

8:01PM PDT on May 7, 2011

DOESN'T THIS JUST FIT?

I venture to say, that none of this is a surprise to most of us, and I fully expect Koch Industries to deny the statements made in this article.
Their history speaks for itself.

To Patricia S.: You bring up a very good point. How could they know how their employees voted, unless they (somehow) get the voting results?

Doesn't the Koch family, just consist of a lovely group of people?

1:39PM PDT on May 2, 2011

The article in The Nation Magazine contains a series of inaccurate and irresponsible claims about Koch Industries and its outreach to employees regarding the endorsement of individual political candidates.

The October 2010 letter to employees clearly stated, ” …deciding who to vote for is a decision that is yours and yours alone, based on the factors that are important to you. Koch and KOCHPAC support candidates we believe will best advance policies that create the economic conditions needed for employees and businesses such as ours to survive and prosper.”

The materials in the packet are entirely consistent with the law and Koch Industries’ record of public statements in support of free-market policies and previously disclosed contributions by KOCHPAC to candidates for public office. Unions have long communicated their preferences to their members knowing full well that inside the voting booth those members would make their own decisions. Koch employees who reviewed the information sent them did the same.

Find out more for yourself at www.KochFacts.com

11:40AM PDT on May 2, 2011

I wonder when the letter will come out for their Suppliers and their employees how to vote? they will probably have them push their BS on down the line also.

10:18AM PDT on May 2, 2011

The kochroaches must be mormon.. the lds leaders tell their flock who to vote for too.

7:00PM PDT on May 1, 2011

Relax folks, nothing to see here, move along.
If each of you where to examine your own experiences or that of friends or relatives, you would realize that coercion has always been the best friend of big business and of course Big GOV. Think about it, most people are afraid to share their inter most fears with anyone.
Besides, isn't that why you have HomeLand Insecurity, to protect America against democracy and freedom to vote as you desire.

6:58PM PDT on May 1, 2011

That is so illegal it is not even funny. Why are not the Koch Bros being charged?

6:38PM PDT on May 1, 2011

USA land of the free? - I cannot believe it is legal to 'tell' employees how to vote - in fact unbelievable if true and shameful.

4:25PM PDT on May 1, 2011

We had spirited political lunchtime discussions at work, particularly close to election time. There was a single cafeteria for employees at all levels from janitor to site manager. Our lunch group included a broad range of levels - the discussions were uninhibited. Given a company list of approved candidates, I suspect the free wheeling discussions would have become guarded. That complete frankness would only be in private. A bit like the USSR or East Germany where STASI kept watch.

"Free speech" that comes from those in power, can inhibit free speech among the "peons". Care2 members both right and left complain of politicians owned by corporations. That's what happens when cost to elect is huge, when congressmen begin fund raising for next time as soon as they're elected.

It's conservative dogma and a conservative Supreme Court that calls this bribery free speech. The preamble to the Declaration of Independence plus a few state constitutions might be best worded per Orwell "all men are created equal but some are more equal than others":

11:23AM PDT on May 1, 2011

Patricia S: Exactly right in your comment to Glenn. Of course, we live in a society where it is the advertiser's fault, not the purchaser, if they buy a harmful product that was advertised, so I guess it goes with the current mindset. I would like to give the public a little more credit and assume they can take the recommendations with a grain of salt, and actually do some research on their own. But we may have reached a point where Americans have been dumbed down so much by their own apathy and laziness, that is no longer possible.

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