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Koch Industries Warns 45,000 Employees Of ‘Consequences’ If They Don’t Vote For Republicans

By Rebecca Leber  

"Koch Industries Warns 45,000 Employees Of ‘Consequences’ If They Don’t Vote For Republicans"

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Charles and David Koch

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 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.

“It’s just they can intimidate people this way and they can 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,” said 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.

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76 Responses to Koch Industries Warns 45,000 Employees Of ‘Consequences’ If They Don’t Vote For Republicans

  1. Rhonda says:

    Hey people you know why the Republican’s want Romney in office so badly? It has nothing to do with the job market or anything else they are saying, it’s all about the Supreme Court. There will be 3 justices retiring during this next Presidential term. They get Romney in there the the 1% multi- millionaires will get control of what kind of justices get the job of the highest court in the land. Those who are retiring allowed business to be people to which allowed all this money to get into our elections. So what kind of Supreme Court Justices do you think those 1% would want sitting on the bench? A vote for Romney and Ryan is a vote for more destruction of our rights and more rights for corporations.

    • Kiki418 says:

      I couldn’t agree more! The republicans know that the economy is on the mend, regardless of who gets elected, but with the power to appoint the next 3 (making it the majority) supreme court justices, they will have more power for decades to come (probably past the lifetimes of those reading this blog).
      Do we really want to go backward in this country? Do we really want to be controlled by those who would suppress true democracy?

    • Calvin says:

      My first question is “how is this even legal?” It is clearly an attempt to coerce employees to vote with their employers or suffer the consequences. And secondly, if the Republican supreme court has ruled corporations are people too, than why can they make unlimited contributions? I am a people, and I can only give $2,500 max. So if corporations are people why unlimited contributions? I can’t believe this coercion hasn’t attracted more press to tell the truth.

    • Artful Dodger says:

      I disagree about the number of Justices that will retire after the Presidential election. Only Ruth Bader Ginsburg will retire if President Obama is re-elected. And if Rmoney is elected, she will likely not retire, but choose to die in office.

    • jb roth says:

      This use to be a free country. These czars
      want to create a kingdom. The problem is
      money talks and congress is for sale.
      Major lobby reform is the only way to stop this crap. Recall of croaked congressmen
      and women would be a start

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    The Kochs only want to save money on pollution prevention equipment, and don’t care if Georgia Pacific workers die from workplace related cancers:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/12/arkansas-koch-industries-plant-high-rates-of-cancer_n_1007148.html

    Georgia Pacific had a terrible reputation even before Koch bought them, but now their greenwashing is even better. Reading their press releases leads you to think that their mission is restoring the land, not harming it.

    It’s Goebbels’ Big Lie all over again. Repeat it often enough, and the suckers go for it.

    • dolly says:

      If this isn’t illegal, what is??? Koch brothers manipulate oil prices too…why isn’t that hammered home to the citizens…all the conections between the Kochs and other Romney promoters and finaciers…and that little weasal Perrot raises his voice all of a sudden, does he rember his quote about NAfta and the sucking sound of jobs leaving America…under Romney continuation of that sucking sound will be O.K. and Romney’s profiting from all that offshoring and outsourcing is O.K.? Remember Goebells’ BIG LIE!

  3. Kiki418 says:

    Should any ‘employee’ allow their employers to coerce them into voting one way or another certainly is a clear sign of encroaching Totalitarianism in this country! My God, just how far right have these guys gone now? Trying not only to impose THEIR own religious beliefs on EVERYONE, but threaten to punish those that don’t conform. Very sad to hear at the least.

  4. ZoeyKay says:

    Ok, Koch brothers, what if all of your employess vote for Republicans and Obama and the Dems still win – then what are you going to do?

    Also, what authority do you think you have that you can see how your employees vote?

  5. When I worked for GlaxoSmithKline, I used to get these same kind of emails from my employer. I would delete them. One time I responded to the email asking them not to send these political emails to me as I was too busy doing my job and that I didn’t need to have my work interrupted with politics. The emails stopped.

  6. MarkfromLexington says:

    Isn’t this behavior illegal?

  7. denim says:

    Deja vu. 1936 FDR:
    “Those who used to have pass-keys are not happy. Some of them are desperate. Only desperate men with their backs to the wall would descend so far below the level of decent citizenship as to foster the current pay-envelope campaign against America’s working people. Only reckless men, heedless of consequences, would risk the disruption of the hope for a new peace between worker and employer by returning to the tactics of the labor spy.

    Here is an amazing paradox! The very employers and politicians and publishers who talk most loudly of class antagonism and the destruction of the American system now undermine that system by this attempt to coerce the votes of the wage earners of this country. It is the 1936 version of the old threat to close down the factory or the office if a particular candidate does not win. It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them.

    Every message in a pay envelope, even if it is the truth, is a command to vote according to the will of the employer.
    http://millercenter.org/president/speeches/detail/3307

  8. J says:

    ‘Consequences’… in the land of round door knobs and runaway gun possession.

  9. Cletus says:

    They’re just pissed they might not be among the “few favored cronies”…

  10. Kim Feil says:

    Yet another example of the fox watchin the hen house where in Arlington TX, our City Council gets to vote on urban drilling in neighborhoods and doesn’t care to research the health issues and then gets a majority vote on administering the $$$ to groups in Arlington….corruption at its finest. I live, breathe and blog in BarnettShaleHell and Arlington’s Chamber of Commerce is obviously Koch infested too.

  11. Canary says:

    “If we elect candidates who want to spend hundreds of billions in borrowed money on costly new subsidies for a few favored cronies, … prevent or delay important new construction projects, … 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.

    But this is the Romney agenda! His dreamed-of-Middle Eastern war, increased defense spending, slashing of any infrastructure expenditures will produced the very results Koch mongers fear over.

    • Ozonator says:

      Vain Romulan wants war with Russia in addition to the wars on women, environment, colleges, Koch’s NOVA program on PBS (like AIDS and us 47% during Reaganstan), healthcare, and moderate media outlets.

    • MightyDrunken says:

      My thoughts too.

  12. Barbara says:

    Koch logic if the people don’t like your ideas for the country, and the candidate that will run the country to benefit your interests, tell them you will take away their livelihood if they don’t do what you want, yes that’s democracy in action.

  13. Canary says:

    Kochs provide a clear vision of loss of freedom:
    “Do as we say or you will lose your jobs….”

    • VoiceOfReason says:

      @Canary and @Barbara…Choice is exactly what the Koch’s are offering. Its their business and they can do with it what they want. You need to get a grasp of capitalism and fiscal decision-making. Otherwise move to France. See how that works? 75% tax on your income if you make over a million bucks. Good luck with that.

      • Artful Dodger says:

        How’s that drought in Wichita? Another consequence of the Koch’s doing anything they want, by spewing carbon and bullshit into the atmosphere.

  14. Zorya says:

    Shorter Koch letter: “Hey buddy, that’s a nice looking job you have. It would be a shame if something happened to it – if you know what I mean.”

  15. KJ says:

    These 2 Right-wing Bozos are what true anti-american values represent!!! Talk about the 1% – Yikes! How they sleep at night is a mystery…

    • Ozonator says:

      hanging by their claws with their protective leathery wings covering their last batch of old white males…

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Actually, they sleep during the day (ever seen a picture of the blighters in the sunshine?) with the lid screwed tight.

  16. Shawn Morris says:

    Let’s just all forget how the Koch Bros. have poured many millions of dollars to influence this election. And I don’t think they are expecting to get no financial gain if rmoney wins – how many billions in tax savings and profits from XL pipeline. Let’s get real folks!

  17. Duncan Noble says:

    Wow, just, wow. According to the Twitter stats on page, this page has been tweeted over 12,000 time as of 2:50pm Eastern time. I suspect some type of technical error…

  18. Since the Koch’s net worth has almost doubled during the Obama term and since I’m confident that a Romney term would lead to the dramatic shrinking of their wealth, I think of the negative effect on them of the Koch’s having their way is one of the indirect proofs of the existence of God.

    • MorinMoss says:

      Perhaps they’re trying to purchase history’s most expensive Darwin award?

      • jb roth says:

        The day the cover goes over their face,then they will understand all the wealth in the world will not mean anything. Then all mankind will be equal. The most high will be their judge.

  19. Marie says:

    Nuthin’ says lovin’ like a little coercion!

    Bosses who threaten their employees are bullies in every sense — they are like the big kids on the playground who force their rules on everyone. Fairness is not in their playbook.
    Neither is integrity.

  20. sandyh says:

    If the Koch Brothers are this desperate with all their money, then you know that Romney must be in real trouble in the swing states. When are these rich old monopolists going to realize that they are few in number and their money can’t intimidate others?

    • Merrelyn Emery says:

      I think they realize that their money can intimidate others as they have proved for years, ME

  21. Bob Anderson says:

    As a Canadian, I can only hope this type of politics does not come to Canada but in fact, it will if the American people don’t truly stand up against such fear-mongering and intimidation.

    This is a new low indeed!

  22. Patrick says:

    Just remember history mr. Koch. The French king raised taxes on the middle class and things did work out so well for him. That letter is one of the most un American things I have ever seen reminds me of Tammidy hall in New York.

  23. Iris Wolff says:

    If it were me, I’d vote my way, take the consequences and if I lost my job I’d get a class action suit together. Nail those fascists to the wall for election fraud and voter intimidation.

  24. Larry Allen says:

    Koch Industries is all about maximizing quarterly profits. They employ people and lay off people for that purpose only. Koch employees know the company more intimately than the average American. This blatant attempt at corporatism may very well backfire at the polls.

  25. Saacha says:

    It is illegal.. It violates Labor laws.. but it depends on the verbaige in the letter.. this is the second letter I have seen.. I feel sorry for them.. when they don’t get wait they want on Nov 6.. Their biggest concern is .. The browning of America, and the other races that will follower after Obama getting a second term.. They thought if they could intimidate him, that the asians, mexican, american indian, east indians, other blacks, ect.. would not try and run for this Offic again.. that is why they have use so much money.. You have to look at the Presidential history of minorities who ran before them.. They want their power back, It’s racism, and it’s party.. they also did the same thing to Clinton.. Republican..hate not having power and control of people.. look back in history..

  26. Ron T says:

    I have just finished the autobiography of Teddy Roosevelt, written about 1910 (free for Kindle). All that he fought against in the way of political and social corporate abuses are now back to haunt us. I highly recommend the book. It is a real eye-opener (as well as an interesting read). The oligarchs are on the march again.

    I introduce it to conservative friends by asking this question: Who is one of the best Republican presidents ever, but is never mentioned by Republicans?

  27. Dickey Mays says:

    How, exactly, would the Koch brothers know which candidate their employees vote(d) for? Are they going to audit the votes? While I don’t agree with the letter, I truly believe the employees will still vote for the candidate(s) of their choice.

  28. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    Does anyone remember the John Birch Society? Heirs to McCarthyism, they were sure there was a Commie behind every tree. They even thought Ike was a Communist plant, put in power to prepare the US for a Soviet takeover. This band of loonies was co-founded by Fred Koch Sr. – also founder of Koch Industries that his son’s Charles and David now run. Back in the 60′s, even Messrs. conservative themselves, William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater thought the Birchers so extreme that they repudiated them. This led the Birchers to conclude that both political parties were infested with Commies. Well, the seed doesn’t fall far from the tree. The son’s are now getting revenge for their father. As a result, today’s Republican Party bears a strong resemblance to the old John Birch Society. That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.

  29. GuiG says:

    What these workers should keep in mind is that they would get laid off anyway, regardless of who is in charge at the White House if the Kochs decide that their time has come and they are next in line to be sacrificed when shares get a little low and more profits have to be made. So, please vote with YOUR convictions, not with your boss’ convictions!

  30. Stormen Norman says:

    Who in the hell would want to work for them ass hole Koch brothers anyway…go ahead shut the doors. There will be jobs in the future under the second term of the Obama administration with a democratic majority in congress. Them dick heads must be shacking in their cowboy boots & Oh how funny to think how much money they spent trying to buy these elections.

  31. MaryinChicago says:

    There’s a reason I’m now “squeezing the Charmin,” rather than buying Northern toilet paper, manufactured by the Koch brothers. Join me!

  32. RailroadMike says:

    I have a question. Where’s the DOJ in all this mess.

    • Jason D Bennett-Hardy says:

      Technically they are not trying to FORCE employees to vote for Romney/conservatives. This behaviour is disgusting, yes, but they are just INSINUATING that if Romney loses, so does the country. They are NOT saying “Vote Obama and you’re fired,” they are saying, “Vote Obama and we’ll be forced by his Marxist cronies to let a bunch of folk go.” Despicable, manipulative – yes. Illegal, no.

    • Ozonator says:

      Answering Fast & Furious (started in the Bush years) questions for their henchmen in the Extreme House of Representative.

  33. None Ofyour Business says:

    Outrageous! There should be laws against this! REALLY!

  34. Alan Folsom says:

    Why Americans tolerate rich criminals like the Koch brothers running our country is a mind-bender. These gangsters belong in jail and not helping to elect our Presidents. There are another reason why we are getting disgusted with arrogant, hate-filled Zionists.

  35. Aleksa says:

    The idea that such tactics can be used is astonishing but not really all that shocking. Guess the Koch bros feel that if you can’t win on merit, bullying/threatening is a good Plan B. Oh wait, that has always been the Republican way.

  36. Spike says:

    These guys are like Bond villains aren’t they? Do they sit stroking a white cat each?

  37. Joan Savage says:

    The only way that I see that the Koch brothers could levy a consequence on employees would be if a company town where nearly everyone works for Boise-Cascade went democratic, The Koch brothers could close down the local factory or announce moving it to a distant location as a form of punishment.

  38. beejeez says:

    Imagine how deranged — pardon, how much more deranged — the GOP would get if some public schools superintendent somewhere had the gall to threaten school employees with job losses if they don’t vote for President Obama.

  39. There are crackpots in this country trying to scare us about “socialism.” We should be more alarmed about creeping feudalism. Politically, there are some dangerous power fiends like the Kochs who are determined to take us back to the 14th century!

  40. Can’t they be sued for “hostile work place’ and wrongful discharge”if they fire people because their candidate didn’t get elected?

    • The Alston Experience says:

      All of this is sad —1st that anyone person or group of people could make a statement to it’s people. 2nd that a group could be some much attention, by making such a statement and 3rd – that people will continue to support a group/business that has made such a statement if found to be true.

  41. Ken says:

    The republican party always says Democrats are socialists. The problem in America today is the hate that the GOP spreads. The policies of republicans are very much Fascist. This is not your Fathers Republican party…these guys want total control and want the middle class to stuggle in poverty. Vote Democratic and save the middle class. Romney is a stooge and will be told what to do by the Koch Brothers. OBAMA for Freeedom!

  42. AE Mas says:

    This shouldn’t be legal, and it shows what happens when too many people are blinded by the lies of the two parties. The Koch brothers, and employees would benefit from new tax approaches, they might see a loss in revenue from the loss of subsidies, but then perhaps we’d see more open competition, and perhaps they’d soon see more companies that they can partner with to regain lost government subsidies. These guys have no idea. And yet another piece in the puzzle, that adds up to why we keep industrial hemp illegal – to support existing, shabby commerce with bloated subsidies, so they can threaten their employees. Enough. Vote them out, vote third party.

  43. James says:

    O.K. Just how will KOCH monitor the voting of their employees? It is a secret ballot. No one will be in the booth except the voter. So, if Obama wins, you will still penalize your employees even if they did vote your way? I don’t think so. Besides, isn’t it illegal to coerce employees to vote under duress by an employer?

  44. marjo tesselaar says:

    the main reason the Koch brothers want Romney is “deregulation” to pollute as much as they want and to get rid of the E.P.A.

  45. Independent1 says:

    The only way to stop this madness is to vote for Obama to spite them and never tell anyone who you voted for because no one can see you vote in a booth. Because if they get away with this now then they will make people do this every 4 years. They will intiminate you forever and it will encourage other business owners to do the same. It is the beginning to the end of all of our rights.

  46. Dartigen says:

    So what happens if the Democrats win anyway? If I was an investigator I’d keep a close eye on the hirings and firings there…if there’s a sudden huge layoff after the election results come in, well, hello court case! (And yes, this is actually illegal. While it is not illegal to send employees political emails or for a company to hold a given political position, it is illegal to attempt to bully or intimidate someone into voting in a particular manner, regardless of whether they actually do or not. But unfortunately because the email is so vague I don’t think it would be considered a threat in a court case…unless the company followed through on it. Doesn’t really help the people who would have already lost their jobs though.)

  47. Tracey says:

    If you want the gist of how they feel about the people who work for them, just look at the beginning of that letter: Dear co-worker. They couldn’t even take the time to plug in names as they threatened to take away people’s jobs. And knowing how wretched these people are, I bet they can find a way to learn how each person voted.