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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Employer coercion brought to you by Citizens United

Posted By on Sat, Oct 27, 2012 at 6:42 AM

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A new wrinkle of corporate personhood, thanks to the Republican Supreme Court bloc's Citizens United decision, is this, as reported in the New York Times:

Until 2010, federal law barred companies from using corporate money to endorse and campaign for political candidates — and that included urging employees to support specific politicians.

But the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has freed companies from those restrictions, and now several major companies, including Georgia-Pacific and Cintas, have sent letters or information packets to their employees suggesting — and sometimes explicitly recommending — how they should vote this fall.

What about it Arkansas? Are you getting electioneering at work? Threats of job loss? We know the Koch Brothers have already been at it here in Crossett and elsewhere.

Dave Robertson, the president of Koch Industries, sent an information packet and letter this month to more than 30,000 employees of a subsidiary, Georgia-Pacific, a paper and pulp company. The letter attacked government subsidies for “a few favored cronies” as well as “unprecedented regulatory burdens on businesses.”

The letter added, “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.”

The Georgia-Pacific letter, first reported by In These Times, included a flier listing several candidates endorsed by the Koch brothers, the conservative billionaires, beginning with Mitt Romney, as well as opinion articles that the brothers had written.

Anybody else? I'd love to see any memos, e-mails, flyers, etc., you might have received. I'll protect your identity. The corporate politicking is, of course, intended to have a chilling effect, if not on votes themselves, on speech about the election.

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The article mentions that the National Federation of Independent Business, a Republican front group, is also helping get the word out to businesses on influencing employees. If you're an Arkansas member, you can get your voter guide here.

Which reminds me, while watching TV last night, I saw that Arkansas NFIB Director Sylvester Smith, a former Huckabee staff member and still part-time media consultant to the former governor, now is host of a public affairs program on AETN. There's a public TV program even the DOG editorial page could love.

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