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Hat tip to Chris Hayes for raising the issue, and the possible violations of Campaign Finance laws.

"Can your Boss tell you who to vote for?" as Chris puts it on today's show.

Koch Sends Pro-Romney Mailing to 45,000 Employees While Stifling Workplace Political Speech

by Mike Elk, -- Oct 14, 2012

The packet arrived in the mailboxes of all 45,000 Georgia Pacific employees earlier this month. The cover letter, by Koch Industries President and Chief Operating Officer Dave Robertson, read:
While we are typically told before each Presidential election that it is important and historic, I believe the upcoming election will determine what kind of America future generations will inherit.

If we elect candidates who want to spend hundreds of billions in borrowed money on costly new subsidies for a few favored cronies, put unprecedented regulatory burdens on businesses, prevent or delay important new construction projects, and excessively hinder free trade, then many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.

Enclosed with the letter was a flyer listing Koch-endorsed candidates, beginning with Romney. Robertson’s letter explained:
“At the request of many employees, we have also provided a list of candidates in your state that have been supported by Koch companies or by KOCHPAC, our employee political action committee.”
The packet also included an anti-Obama editorial by Charles Koch and a pro-Romney editorial by David Koch. [...]

For once, I'm left speechless. Much as the Koch Brothers have intended it.


Where oh where, is the FEC?

Employees have stated their "bonuses" often depend on how much they support (financially) the Boss' chosen Candidates, through the Boss' chosen PAC.  (Some say even their Jobs, hang in the balance.)

Something is very wrong here.

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Comment Preferences

  •  On their property and their time, I believe that (14+ / 0-)

    they can say what can, or can not, be said by their employees in the business environment and whatever is related to company business.  However, what happens AT the ballot box is none of their damned business.

  •  What FEC? There are NO rules (7+ / 0-)

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:07:58 PM PDT

  •  If these employees (6+ / 0-)

    aren't well-paid and well-treated, if they're just pee-ons (the kind of little people the Kochs far-and-away prefer) well, this propagandistic bombardment may just have a paradoxic effect. Let's hope...

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:09:54 PM PDT

  •  In Texas, all bets are off (6+ / 0-)

    This is a "Right To Work" state which basically means that "anything goes" when it comes to the Corporate Overlords.   Where I work, political discussion by the plebes is actively discouraged, especially by those of the Democratic persuasion.   Republicans not so much...

    The Democratic Party stands for equality for ALL, freedom with responsibility, and a civil and just society.

    by TexasLefty on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:16:19 PM PDT

  •  When I was working, If my boss had told to vote (9+ / 0-)

    for someone, it would have just insured I would vote for the person he didn't want me to.

    •  I'd (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Kokomo for Obama, Smoh, JL

      be looking for another job.

      Are you ready to Vote? Are you still 'allowed' to Vote?
      -- Are you sure?

      by jamess on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:25:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If your boss monitors your giving to PACs (5+ / 0-)

      associated with promoting the business's interests, as well as favored slate of candiates, that can have quite the stiffling effect and influence worker behavior to preserve jobs let alone seek a promotion.  This has been happening in our semi-privatized or fully privatized energy utilities where allegedly there is still some government oversight. If you don't understand your job #1 as making shareholders rich, you're not 'the right stuff'.

      When bosses can get away with economic blackmail to strong arm the elections towards their interests, 'leveraging' their 1 vote into thousands, we can see what a joke 'Right to Work' laws are and how defanged our FEC has become along with DoJ and state AGs. And we can see we surrendering fair elections along with our individual liberty, justice, and fairness for all in allowing 'Right to Work' laws to pass and to persist. 'Right to Work' is really 'Right to be used as Slaves and Minions'. Free Speech is the same as money, says our Supreme Court, so if you dare use Free Speech to say anything but what The Company wants, you'll be earning zero or worse--apparently your Free Speech is bought and paid for if you are earning a paycheck.

      When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

      by antirove on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 01:05:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Could seriously backfire...I would use the mailing (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, JeffW, OldDragon, Smoh

    to know WHO not to vote for.

    How can you tell when Rmoney is lying? His lips are moving. Fear is the Mind Killer

    by boophus on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:27:38 PM PDT

  •  The more egregious issue is forcing employee's (13+ / 0-)

    to contribute their hard earned money to the candidates of their bosses choice.  They can flap their gums all they want but when they reach into my pocket then I have an issue with it.  It is why Citizens United is so egregious, companies that have the money to donate to political campaigns have the money to pay their employee's better and they usually don't.  

  •  Nothing is "wrong" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, Words In Action

    Koch is the American dream playing out exactly as any nation would having adopted the capitalist model.

    This is how it was always going to be, the fact that the name is Koch, rather than any other is simply a matter of power laws working themselves out to their logical conclusion.

    Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

    by Deep Dark on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:37:43 PM PDT

    •  well then (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action

      maybe raw capitalism is "wrong"

      in the same way that "survival of the fittest" is "wrong" ?

      iow, That which is "just and right"

      is simply inconsequential ... unfit;

      Unfit to meet the needs of the raw powers that be.

      Are you ready to Vote? Are you still 'allowed' to Vote?
      -- Are you sure?

      by jamess on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:45:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The problem with survival of the fittest is that it advantages those whose ecological niche is the best "fit" for the overall environment.

        That works really well until the environment changes at a rate or in a direction outside that for which the "fittest" are designed. At that point they become relics.

        Perfect example is a wide range of flora and fauna that used to live about half way up some mountain in New Guinea.

        As global temperatures rose, the niche for which they were "fittest" began to rise also, further and further up the mountain.

        Because they are "unfit" to live anywhere further down the mountain, they can't escape the process by moving to a different mountain, they will die in any environment that is warmer than the one for which they are "fittest".

        When their niche rises above the top of the mountain, they become extinct.

        Paradoxically, those who are less fit for any particular niche, humans for example, can adapt more quickly to a wider range of habitats and have the greatest range of options for survival. It is not our fitness, but our unfitness that has advantaged us so far.

        Capitalism is a great fit in a world where there are relatively few people, vast, easily accessible natural resources and surplus energy. It is not at all fit for a world in which any, let alone all, of those resources are constrained and in which population has already, probably, overshot the carrying capacity of the planet.

        Capitalism is fittest when we are not working in a zero sum game, where 2+3= >5, ie, produces a profit. That time is past. So the systems that utterly depended on that equation will not survive. In the meantime, however, they are trying desperately to ensure their own survival by sucking in ever more of the dwindling resources, regardless of the cost to others and even their own constituents.

        Just as a starving animal will eventually scavenge even its own muscle in an attempt to survive, even though the loss of that muscle will render it incapable of catching and consuming any prey that it happens to find.

        We are now well into a phase transition process and there is no way to know what the outcome of it will be nor what kind of social and economic structures might arise from it. All we can be sure of is that they will use much less energy, vastly fewer resources and eat MUCH less food.

        Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

        by Deep Dark on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 03:14:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Company Town. Louisiana Pacific (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, vahana, OldDragon, MadMs, ranton

    in the WI town i live in always has the biggest Presidential signs.  Right outside the plant entrance...and they don't say Obama/Biden.  Makes me sick to think those workers will be pushed to vote against their own interests...

    BTW it amazes me to see businesses that have Romney signs by them.  Maybe it is a redneck/dumbfuck WI thing?  At least I know where I will NOT be spending money.

    I'm just wasting a great big Corporation and the entire fund. The girders of Wall Street And the temples of money. And the high priests Of the expense account. And Im wasting the whole thing. J. Strummer

    by bongojazz on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 01:00:07 PM PDT

  •  This isn't new for Koch (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, Words In Action

    The only thing - is in the past most of us haven't been watching them as closely as now.

    They did it in 2010 and had to register in Texas as  a "campaign".
    Then they pay themselves for the expense to do this.

    Mailing home addresses of company employees
    Printing of state sheets listing supported candidates

    Docs are

  •  I'm certainly not a lawyer (4+ / 0-)

    I don't even play one on TV.  But I was a Union Rep. workers advocate for 25 years.  The last 7 years as a State Union Rep for APWU.  I traveled all of Eastern Idaho to the Montana and Wyoming borders.

    The National Labor Relations Board was often called into our grievance settlements because the violations were egregious violations of Federal Labor Laws. (Although the NLRB over the past 20 years has been fairly toothless and ineffective)

    You cannot tell employees how to vote.  You cannot make employees take an unpaid work day to stand as props behind a political candidate.  You cannot threaten employees that their bonuses depend on whose campaign they contribute to, or who they vote for.  These are all violations of labor laws.

    Employees, for the most part, don't know s**t  about their rights or the laws.  I don't know about other unions or union reps but I never hesitated to call in the NLRB and I could quote chapter and verse to them, the employer and the employee and the NLRB rep. concerning what was being violated and what the consequences and penalties would be.

    But somebody has to stand up to the big guys.  Whether it is the Union Reps, or in non-union workplaces a group of employees, or in the case of salaried employees someone with a spine.  Otherwise, the Company big wigs have control, keep everyone in fear and continue to break the law.

    JMO and my experience.

    *the blogger formerly known as shirlstars

    by Shirl In Idaho on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 02:40:57 PM PDT

    •  Thanks Shirl (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shirl In Idaho

      I thought there must be Laws,

      against this Malarkey.

      Are you ready to Vote? Are you still 'allowed' to Vote?
      -- Are you sure?

      by jamess on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 02:45:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In another diary (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        this was posted in the comments:

        42 USC 1971(b)?  
        (b) Intimidation, threats, or coercion

        No person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, shall intimidate, threaten, coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote or to vote as he may choose, or of causing such other person to vote for, or not to vote for, any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, presidential elector, Member of the Senate, or Member of the House of Representatives, Delegates or Commissioners from the Territories or possessions, at any general, special, or primary election held solely or in part for the purpose of selecting or electing any such candidate.

        "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

        by KateCrashes on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 06:29:38 PM MST

        *the blogger formerly known as shirlstars

        by Shirl In Idaho on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 06:33:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Repubs complain about VOLUNTARY union donations (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, Words In Action, luckylizard
      “At the request of many employees, we have also provided a list of candidates in your state that have been supported by Koch companies or by KOCHPAC, our employee political action committee.”

    The packet also included an anti-Obama editorial by Charles Koch and a pro-Romney editorial by David Koch. [...]

    Republicans who get all up in arms about union PACs donating to candidates I am sure will be all up in arms about this. Oh wait, maybe not.

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 03:07:46 PM PDT

  •  It Is Up To Citizens To Protect Their Democracy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, 42

    And it is very important to understand how your government works.  You are correct, the FEC would be the appropriate agency to investigate this.  But the FEC cannot so much as pick up an investigatory pencil without someone, ANYONE, making a complaint.

    Here is the how to:

    Anyone may file a complaint if he or she believes a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Laws or Commission regulations has occurred or is about to occur.  The complaint must be made in writing and sent to the Office of General Counsel, Federal Election Commission, 999 E Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.  20463.  The original must be submitted along with three copies, if possible. Facsimile or e-mail transmissions are not acceptable.  A complaint must comply with certain requirements.

    if you don't want to do it, then might.

    That said, this is Koch Industries.  They absolutely consider themselves above the law, or at least very uncomfortably close to the letter of the law.  They really truly "own" the RNC.  

  •  Shock fatigue. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Isn't that the condition that creates learned helplessness in frequently, randomly shocked rats? Would that have any impact on the low voter turnout so traditional in American electoral politics.


    Purging predominantly minority voters and requiring them to present IDs to vote in the face of VIRTUALLY NON-EXISTENT VOTER FRAUD is RACISM! I hereby declare all consenting Republicans RACISTS until they stand up and object to these practices!

    by Words In Action on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 03:16:40 PM PDT

    •  there was a Corporate Magnate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      42, looseleaf

      who claimed he swayed the 2000 FL election to Bush

      using such tactics.

      His follow up surveys indicated that well over a thousand of his employees voted for Bush

      -- who otherwise would NOT have Voted.

      Officially Gore lost FL by 537 Votes.

      This Corporate owner shocked his surfs, into acting, and into voting his way.

      Heard about this last week on either Ed's or Rachel's shows.

      Are you ready to Vote? Are you still 'allowed' to Vote?
      -- Are you sure?

      by jamess on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 03:22:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's like they're updating the 3/5th (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Compromise, but now the bosses get 5/5ths of their employees.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 04:25:47 PM PDT

  •  A Worker's Bill of Rights Amendment is needed! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

    by ranton on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 04:59:16 PM PDT

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