Koch Bros Find One More Way to Influence Election: Influence Employees

It’s not enough that Republicans across the country have been working to suppress the vote this November – the US Supreme Court ruled today that Ohio’s early voting rules must remain in force – but now we’re hearing about employers sending forceful letters to employees, basically telling them to vote for (and even contribute money to) Republicans.

The Koch brothers letter, detailed below, is part of a packet. Enclosed with the letter, employees received a  flyer that lists Koch-endorsed candidates, beginning with Romney. Also included is an anti-Obama editorial by Charles Koch and a pro-Romney editorial by David Koch.

By Rebecca Leber

The Koch brothers’ $60 million pledge to defeat President Obama – along with their political network’s $400 million spending – make them two of the most influential conservatives in this election.

Not content with their unprecedented influence in politics, the Kochs have also taken to influencing the votes of their employees.

According to In These Times, Koch Industries sent 45,000 mailers to employees at Koch subsidiary Georgia Pacific, urging votes for Romney and other conservative candidates. The letter warns ominously of "consequences" for the workers if Republicans lose.

The Koch mailer is one of several recent examples of executives warning that employees may lose their jobs if Republicans do not win in November.

Here is an excerpt of the letter:

"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."

In These Times also reports that employees are restricted in their political free speech on social media outlets.

"They can intimidate people this way and make life miserable for you. The law would be strong enough to protect them probably, but you could be looking at being without your job for nearly a year," says one Georgia Pacific employee.

One of the most absurd parts of the letter is its hypocritical charges of "cronyism." The Kochs use their money and political clout to influence elections.

Charles Koch once penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed – included in the employee packet – that attacked "partisan rhetoric" and rewards for "politically connected friends." At the time, we listed the various ways the Kochs personally profit from subsidies and government contracts and attempt to influence the political process through every means possible.

Koch Industries has also played a speculative role in hiking oil prices higher for profit. And that "delay" in "important new construction projects," mentioned in the letter refers to projects the Kochs would profit from, like the Keystone XL pipeline for shipping tar sands.

The Kochs are not the only ones attempting to influence employee votes. Two CEOs recently issued threats to employees about their jobs if Obama wins. And Murray Energy’s CEO allegedly coerced donations to Republican candidates after forcing coal miners to attend a pro-Romney rally without pay.


This article first appeared on Climate Progress, part of the Center for American Progress.

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Comments on “Koch Bros Find One More Way to Influence Election: Influence Employees”

  1. Brandt Hardin

    Is there any doubt a Romney administration would favor the rich and increase the income gap in our country? Mitt is a pariah in Mormon Clothing and will stop at nothing to expand an empire of greed for the rich in this country by expanding tax cuts for the 1% of the wealthiest Americans. He’s out to gut the Middle Class for every red cent he can get. Will his sacred Mormon underwear grant him the protection and money to buy this election? See for yourself as Mitt dons his tighty-whities sent down from the Good Lord Himself at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/05/mitt-romneys-magic-mormon-underwear.html

  2. Little B

    This is free speech. They own the company, they know how the regulations have been heaped on the job creators in the US. They are allowed to have their opinions. The unions do the same thing, but you won’t see that reported in the press.

  3. Rona Fried

    Little B, where do you get this unsubstantiated, but often quoted line that regulations are heaped on supposed job creators? Would you rather that Wall Street remain completely unregulated, for example? Would you like zero protection of the air and water – go back to the days when Lake Erie literally set fire from pollution? Or DDT spread everywhere? The richest 1% in this country are wealthier than ever – but where are those elusive jobs?

  4. butch for obama

    Romney would be the worst thing that could happen to the country, except for the very wealthy.the middle class or 47% victims will be left behind. Mr Romney will do anything, even buy his way to power,then he can help the Koch bros, Himself and all the other wealthy contributors

  5. martyman

    i admit romney is a crook that intends to take the middle class and poor to the cleaners. what really disgusts me is all this talk about GOD. when i was growing up we were taught to give to and help the poor. i remember me and my dad organizing paper and bottle drives and give the money to the food banks. GOD is the farthest thing from these republicans minds. greed is what they seek


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