The National Federation of Independent Business is offering a seminar next week called “How to Speak With Your Employees About The Importance of the 2012 Elections,” for business owners who haven’t already tried to pressure employees into voting for their preferred candidate. The NFIB, officially nonpartisan, is a notoriously conservative organization that has donated millions to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads GPS Super PAC.
The 2-hour session will be held October 30 in Torrington, CT. The event description says:
Join other business owners and key personnel for an evening of networking and refreshments as part of NFIB’s continuing effort to ensure business owners have the resources to grow their business. Gather at West State Mechanical in Torrington and learn what you can do to prepare your employees for the crucial upcoming election.
Despite claims of nonpartisanship, the NFIB has spent nearly $2 million supporting Republicans and attacking Democrats this election cycle, even endorsing the embattled campaign of Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), ostracized by many conservatives after his “legitimate rape” debacle. NFIB also held a conference call earlier this year, during which Mitt Romney encouraged business owners to tell employees who to vote for based on “what you believe is best for the business.”
Before the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, employers were forbidden from speaking directly to employees about political preferences. However, the Supreme Court greatly expanded corporations’ and unions’ flexibility in political speech, setting the groundwork that allowed employers to compel employees to participate in political campaigns.
Conservatives are taking full advantage of these newfound abilities. Coal miners at Murray Energy in Ohio complained they were forced to attend a Romney rally, where they were filmed for a campaign ad. Murray Energy also apparently coerces employees into donating to Republicans. Another CEO, of ASG Software Solutions, told employees to donate up to $2500 each, explicitly saying “Please help ASG and yourself by contributing to the Romney/Ryan campaign.” Several other CEOs have threatened to fire employees if Obama wins the election.
The NFIB denies that the seminar is meant to show employers how to pressure their employees, telling the Huffington Post its political efforts are “driven strictly by the issues that impact small business — that’s the area where we really want our members to engage their employees in conversation.” Of course, the idea that Obama has an “anti-business” record is mythology; since he took office, corporate profits have soared, the Dow Jones industrial average has gained 67.9 percent, and small businesses have received several tax cuts.