It's hardly a surprise that billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are supporting Romney in the upcoming election, but their efforts to persuade tens of thousands employees to do the same is curious to say the least. Koch Industries subsidiary Georgia Pacific recently sent out a "voter information packet" to its 45,000 employees with all kinds of helpful information like who's running, who's a Republican and how to vote for those Republicans. We're only exaggerating a little bit.
Nonprofit political magazine In These Times got ahold of the Georgia Pacific voter info packet and just published a report on what's inside. To put it simply, the handout literally gave employees a list of whom to vote for in the upcoming election. "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," reads the particular flier. Mitt Romney is at the top of the list. A copy of an anti-Obama editorial written by Charles Koch and pro-Romney editorial written by David Koch is also included. If Obama is reelected, one of the letters in the packet reads, "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."
This is hardly the first time we've seen employers pushing their political will onto employees. Last week, Gawker published a letter that David Siegel, chief executive of Westgate Resorts, sent to his 7,000 employees warning them about how Obama's reelection could endanger their jobs. He didn't necessarily say he'd fire employees if they voted for Obama. Their jobs would just be in jeopardy -- for economic reasons. Then a couple of days ago, Arthur Allen, the chief executive of ASG Software Solutions, sent his employees yet another anti-Obama letter. If we fail as a nation to make the right choice on November 6th, and we lose our independence as a company, I don't want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come," he wrote.
Of course, all of these bosses told their employees that they were free to choose who to vote for. Just don't bad mouth the boss. "Even if I was at my own home, I can't put something up [on Facebook] against the Koch Brothers," one employee and union leader told In These Times. says Pierce. "I don't post anything about the Koch Brothers. I could lose my job."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.