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Koch to Employees: Vote Romney or Bad Things Will Happen (Maybe to Your Job)

The boss wants you to know he thinks it's a very bad idea for you to vote for Barack Obama.
 
 
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David Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries, mingling with guests at a party arranged in his honor by Americans for Prosperity in Tampa, Fla., on the final day of the 2012 Republican National Convention.
Photo Credit: A.M. Stan

 

Leaving no stone unturned in foraging votes for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Charles and David Koch, the sole principals of the privately-held Koch Industries, are making sure that their employees and retirees know who the bosses are supporting in this year’s presidential election.

AlterNet obtained a packet sent to a retiree of a plant owned by Koch Industries in Virginia that is introduced by a letter from Dave Robertson, president and chief operating officer of Koch Industries, that warns of dire consequences should readers elect the wrong candidate. Accompanying the letter, on a separate page, is a checklist of Koch-endorsed candidates.

The dark but unstated implication of the letter, sent on Koch Industries letterhead, is that a vote for a candidate other than those recommended by Koch could lead to job losses at the company. At the bottom of the letter a tagline notes that “This is a paid political advertisement by Koch Industries, Inc.” From Robertson’s letter:

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 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation and other ills.

Which is not to say that Robertson is instructing Koch workers and retirees who they should vote for. He’s just making a helpful suggestion. From the letter:

I want to emphasize two things about these lists: First and foremost, we believe that any decision about which candidate to support is -- as always -- yours and yours alone, based on factors that are most important to you. Second, we do not support candidates based on their political affiliation. We evaluate them on who is the most market-based and willing to support economic freedom for the benefit of society as a whole.

All of the candidates endorsed on the Virgina checklist enclosed with the letter are Republicans.

At In These Times, Mike Elk reports that the same letter, with accompanying checklists, “arrived in the mailboxes of all 45,000 Georgia Pacific employees earlier this month.” Georgia Pacific is a subsidiary of Koch Industries.

Adele M. Stan is a journalist based in Washington, D.C., who specializes in covering the intersection of religion and politics. She is RH Reality Check's senior Washington correspondent.