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CEO Threatens Employees With ‘Personal Consequences’ If Romney Loses

By Adam Peck  

"CEO Threatens Employees With ‘Personal Consequences’ If Romney Loses"

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The list of corporate CEOs and owners who have tried scaring their employees into voting for Mitt Romney got a bit longer this week thanks to Milwaukee businessman Mike White.

White, the owner of the industrial equipment firm Rite-Hite, sent his 1,400 employees an email this week warning them that they needed to “understand the personal consequences to them of having our tax rates increase dramatically if President Obama is re-elected,” according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which was sent a copy of the correspondence. The email goes on to warn that Rite-Hite would consider dropping its contribution to the workers’ retirement plan, blaming tax hikes that White says are on the way if Obama wins a second term, and that workers will lose their health care:

“The tax rate we pay is not 17%, as Warren Buffett would have you believe; with state taxes it is roughly 45%. President Obama has announced that our planned tax rate would increase to roughly 65%, reducing our after tax income by 36% and dramatically reducing, if not eliminating, your and my RSP contributions.”

As a result, White said the company’s profits would not be reinvested. Instead, he wrote, “the money will be sent into the abyss that is Washington, D.C. So, on top of the burden of having your personal taxes increase dramatically, which they will, your RSP contributions and healthy retirement are also at risk, all for the sake of maintaining an over-sized government that borrows 42% of every dollar it spends.”

White also wrote that Obama’s re-election means there is a “good chance of losing Rite-Hite insurance and being put into Obamacare.”

White is no stranger to Republican politics. He was the single largest individual donor to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) 2010 election, and in fact was named in a lawsuit for exceeding the state’s $10,000 cap on campaign contributions.

In the last few weeks, several CEOs — themselves all multi-millionaires — warned employees that if Obama wins the election in two weeks, their jobs could hang in the balance. Rite-Hite employees were taken aback by the message, telling the Journal Sentinel they felt threatened by the email.

It’s unclear whether White’s email was in response to Mitt Romney’s plea for business owners to pressure their employees to vote for him. In a June conference call, Romney told CEOs, “I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise.”

Update

Still more millionaire CEOs are urging their employees to vote for Mitt Romney. The Huffington Post reports that Jack DeWitt, CEO of Request Foods in Holland, Michigan, penned a letter for the company’s monthly employee newsletter in which he urged his workers to vote for Mitt Romney and Republican Senate Candidate Pete Hoekstra and called President Obama’s first term “a complete failure.” What DeWitt failed to mention is that he and his company were the beneficiaries of a $5.5 million grant from the Obama administration as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. DeWitt is a long-time contributor to Republican candidates and conservative groups like the homophobic outfit the Family Research Council.

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