By Jim Hightower

The Corporate Mad Dogs Of Citizens United

October 31, 2012 12:00 am Category: Memo Pad 68 Comments A+ / A-
The Corporate Mad Dogs Of Citizens United

As feared, our people’s democratic authority has been dogged nearly to death by the hounds of money in this election go ’round, thanks to the Supreme Court’s reckless decree in the now-infamous Citizens United case.

That rank political power play by five black-robed judicial partisans unleashed the Big Dogs of corporate money to bite democracy right in the butt this year, poisoning our elections with the venom of unlimited special-interest cash. But there’s also been another, little-reported consequence of the malevolent Citizens United decision: It has unleashed mad-dog corporate bosses to tell employees how to vote.

Prior to that 2010 Court ruling, top executives were barred by federal law from using corporate funds to instruct, induce, intimidate or otherwise push workers to support particular candidates. No more, thanks to the five Supremes. Having been given a legal pass, bosses have openly and aggressively conscripted employees to be political troopers for corporate-backed candidates.

For example, CEO David Siegel of Westgate Resorts, a major peddler of timeshare schemes, warned his 7,000-strong workforce against voting for Obama. To do so, he wrote in a letter to each of them, would “threaten your job.” Obama, Siegel declared, planned to raise taxes on multi-millionaires like him, which would give him “no choice but to reduce the size of this company.”

Likewise, Dave Robertson, president of the Koch brothers’ industrial empire, notified 30,000 workers that they would suffer assorted “ills” if they helped re-elect Obama. In case that message was too subtle, Robertson helpfully included a slate-card of Koch-approved candidates for them to take into the polling booth.

Of course, corporate chieftains say they’re not making threats — just suggestions. As Boss Siegel disingenuously put it: “There’s no way I can pressure anybody. I’m not in the voting booth with them.”

But, of course, he can see (or be told by watchful managers) if any employee dares to sport an Obama campaign button, bumpersticker or lawn sign. And he can find out if any rebellious worker has gone to a Democratic Party event, volunteered in the wrong campaign or made a donation to Obama (now there’s a chilling irony — under Citizens United, Siegel can secretly shovel a million bucks or more straight out of the corporate treasury into an anti-Obama campaign group, but a regular person’s $200 donation has to be disclosed for all to see, including the boss).

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The Corporate Mad Dogs Of Citizens United Reviewed by on . As feared, our people's democratic authority has been dogged nearly to death by the hounds of money in this election go 'round, thanks to the Supreme Court's re As feared, our people's democratic authority has been dogged nearly to death by the hounds of money in this election go 'round, thanks to the Supreme Court's re Rating:

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  • foolsdance

    An employer can make you work (stand behind romney for a photo op) without pay? An employer can force you to contribute your personal funds – regardless of your financial situation – to his candidate(s) of choice against your will?

    Where is the public outcry??? Where are the lawyers??? I am outraged by the fact that these actions are tolerated… am I alone in that outrage?

    God’s speed Dominick, we need you!

    • Pi_Boson

      We the people should be extremely outraged at Citizens United and be on the streets peacefully rioting and asking “WTF” to those 5 justices. Hang these justices high in public opinion court!!!

      • foolsdance

        name the city and intersection, Pi – I’ll meet you there!

    • nobsartist

      Where is just telling your boss to f^ck off like real men do?

      • Ford Truck

        I agree with you! If my boss tried to tell me who to vote for, or for that matter, to stand for a photo op behind a candidate I hate, my boss would be picking himself up off the floor. I was looking for a job when I found this one, I can look for another!!

      • Del WS

        “Real” men and women can too easily be fired, they know it, and some bosses know it and take advantage of it.

        • AMADAL

          Unions were formed to stop this kind of behavior. Most of these people are denied the ability to work for a union shop. Otherwise, a boss can fire you for any reason and place a legitimate reason on the paper work and there is nothing that can be done unless you are in a union.

    • anyasnote

      Nobody can make you do anything against my/your will. They can’t stand behind you/me in a booth and watch it. They can say all they want but I will vote the way I want. People are just stupid,biased, naive, scared, gullible and Mitt and Co KNOW IT.
      “Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn” >B. Franklin
      Most American’s are unwilling to learn, it takes too much time from the remote and couch.

      • foolsdance

        but that is exactly my point… these are not highly educated well paid employees with a ton of options – they are the most vulnerable to intimidation, and therefore should be protected. You may be able to tell you boss where to shove it (and I most certainly would if it happened to me), but for millions of americans that is not an option.

        • nobsartist

          you can tell your boss to f^ck off simply by voting for whoever he does not want you to vote for.

        • Davekzy1

          Mitt Romney and the tea party is pure evil.

    • concernedgran

      What the employer CANNOT do is stand beside you in the voting booth! Stand up for your rights and vote your beliefs!

    • agnessue

      I’ll be there too. This is absurb!

    • montanabill

      Perhaps instead of believing such gibberish, you would like to find and identify specific employers who have forced employees to contribute with their personal funds to a candidate of the employer’s choice, then we could find a trial lawyer (no shortage of them) to right this wrong.

      • foolsdance

        Hows this for starters bill? From the above article, which you really should read so that you can comment from a position of knowledge instead of ignorance: “As uncovered in an investigative report by The New Republic, such involuntary support is routinely demanded from the salaried employees of Murray Energy. They get hit up again and again for donations to Romney and such other designated candidates as Sens. Rand Paul, Scott Brown, Jim DeMint, and David Vitter.

        Murray himself sends dunning letters to employees’ homes, specifying to each one how much to give and instructing them to send their checks directly to corporate headquarters. Staffers there maintain a list of those who did as told — and those who didn’t. “If you don’t contribute, your job’s at stake,” one employee bluntly explained. “There’s a lot of coercion,” he adds, “They will give you a call if you’re not giving.”

        Indeed, Murray deploys his lieutenants to squeeze the laggards — as the boss put it in one letter to them last year: “Please see that our salaried employees ‘step up,’ for their own sakes.” And, in another letter this March, he pointedly named names: “I do not recall ever seeing the attached list of employees … at one of our fundraisers.”

        • montanabill

          Sounds a lot like the mode used by one aerospace company I once worked for when they wanted an ‘atta boy’ for United Way participation.

          It will be interesting to see how the charges against Murray play out. If guilty, he will pay a price for such a practice.

          If true, that goes a lot farther than just sending out a memo like Siegal did.

          Here’s an interesting question: would the Holder Depart. of Justice ever instigate an investigation of SEIU or any other union?

      • grammyjill

        But Bill, didn’t you say you were one of them?

        • montanabill

          Trial lawyer or employer who forces contributions? Neither. Nor did I send a memo telling my employees how to vote. What I did say was that my employees are smart enough to figure it out on their own. I don’t know of any Obama supporters and we have a pretty diverse staff.

          • grammyjill

            I think if you have let your feelings be known, you would not know if there were any Obama supporters there. And not everyone wishes to share their choise. Afterall do you know any of their other private business?

          • montanabill

            I know there are Obama supporters among the employees. What I also know is that we have added a considerable number of people who lost their previous employment to this economy. They now have a good paying job with very good benefits and understand that they reason there was a job available is because we grow with retained profit, not loans. They also know that the administration wants more of that profit in the form of taxes. We also work in the health care industry, so they get a first hand look at the effect of Obamacare and all the new regulations constantly imposed on our industry.

            Those employees who will vote for Obama are not doing it because of his economic policies or Obamacare or his welfare state or because he got bin Laden.

    • grammyjill

      No you are not alone. We need to get Citizens United reversed.

  • montanabill

    Looks like the moment of the picture didn’t quite match Hightower’s rhetoric. If that had been Obama instead of Romney and those workers were there because a union boss had told them to be there, would the article have been written against unions telling their workers how to vote?
    The truth is, no matter who is telling workers how to vote, in the voting booth, everyone makes their own decision. Unless, of course, unions get card check.

    • foolsdance

      I would hope that that article would have been written as well. Do you find that question to be your excuse for saying this practice is fine by you and inconsequential?
      If so, then you don’t understand the employment climate today. Because I can certainly tell you that people will do anything to keep their job these days, for fear of not being able to find a new one – and the employers know this and use it to their advantage.
      Romney, himself, is on tape addressing a small business town hall telling business owners to use this tactic – to threaten their employees~! He is slime, and he is spreading it across America.

      • montanabill

        Let’s examine that thought for a minute. Why would employers attempt to persuade their employees to vote for Romney? Is it because they like the status quo of unavailable capital or a stagnant economy or lack of growth opportunities? It is because they want profits taxed more so that even that money isn’t available for growth? Is it because they either want to pay 30% more for their employees health insurance or want to stop providing it and pay a penalty? Is it because they really like moving jobs overseas to stay competitive or even in business?
        Is it because they want to hire more employees just to track regulations?

        If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you have a severe misunderstanding of business and a little learning would go a long way.

        If you answered no to those questions, then you know why they want their employees to get help get rid of Obama.

        • neece00

          Koch Industries Executive Vice President David H. Koch listens to speakers at a Washington, D.C. summit last year. Koch Industries sent a letter to more than 30,000 employees of a subsidiary, Georgia-Pacific, that included a list of candidates endorsed by the Koch brothers. The names included all republicans. That was just a few days after the chief executive of a software company told his employees that he didn’t “want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come” if they voted Obama back into office. And a few days before that the CEO of Westgate Resorts and the owner of the largest house in America similarly said that he would “have no choice but to reduce the size of this company” if Obama won. “Whose policies will endanger your job?” he asked his employees.

          Google it if you want to know the truth.

          • montanabill

            That is far different than forcing contributions. In reality, it is not much different that the law Obama is trying to subvert that requires military contractors to notify their employees of possible layoffs because of sequestration. Employees should be told if an employer thinks something could happen to impact their employment.
            The employees still have the privacy of the voting booth.

        • grammyjill

          You and I have had a half decent talk so I’m going to attempt this. You are worried mostly about your taxes going up under Obama and how that will affect your business. Under Romney you don’t think there would be a tax problem. I agree with you. You would not have a tax problem under Romney because if he gets his way you won’t have a business to worry about. Bill, you really need to check things out real good before you vote and force (suggest) to your employees. I think you will find that because of the fiscal cliff it might get a little tight for a short time but everything will turn out ok and your business will even get better.

          • montanabill

            I believe that is where you are misguided. I know that Obama wants my taxes to go up. He has mouthed generalities about spending cuts, but has not specified a single place where he would support an actual cut. And I don’t mean just a cut in proposed spending increases. He talks about saving SS and Medicare, but hasn’t put forth a single possible way of doing it. The OMB has said our debt under Obama’s current plans will raise the debt to $20 trillion. Just how is any of that going to be even slowed down let alone reduced? Just raising taxes on ‘millionaires and billionaires’ won’t even be noticed! The President has talked about redirecting the money saved by ending the wars, but those wars were fought with borrowed money that has already been accounted for. There is no freed up money to be used for anything.

            What proposal has Romney put forward that you think will negatively impact business?

            You are right about a fiscal cliff, but things won’t be just a little tight. We are facing a major impact to our society. If we continue under the current ignoring of the problem, that impact, when it comes, will be disastrous.

          • grammyjill

            Ok, if Obama wants your taxes to go up then you must be VERY well off. Will it really hurt you so much to pay four percent more than you are now? Will you have to skip supper to pay it? Some of us do. My husband denied his last raise because we couldn’t afford it. It would have put him into a higher tax bracket and would have taken even more out of his meger paycheck. If you need a good reason for a little higher taxes, the rich go back to the Clinton era tax rates. Not alot of extra money, but it will help pay for the infrastructure bill that will put millions back to work. Millions more tax payers, so ALOT more money. And like magic the deficit starts going down.
            He has already worked on Medicare. The saving of the 716 billion over 10 years will add that 10 years to Medicare. He hasn’t done SS yet cause the republicans just want to privatize it. Not a good idea.
            Actually there will be savings from the war. He took it off the credit card. Everything going on now is done on a cash basis. You ask about Romney’s impact on business. Sensata Industries! Everyone keeps saying he’s a businessman so he knows how to do this.   If that were true he would have been a good governor, but he really sucked! Jobs disappeared in Mass. fast. He drove businesses out of the state with his extreem fees. So, if he did that in Mass. what chance would any business have with him in the white house?

          • montanabill

            No, it will not hurt me to pay 4-5% (actually will be closer to 12% with all the other stuff attached) more. But taxing me more will not improve your income or the incomes of anyone else. My companies are either S corporations or LLC’s, which means that their income is taxed at my tax level. This is common with most small or closely held companies. Money paid to taxes reduces the money I have available to expand my companies. In my case, it would mean fewer new jobs next year.

            I’m afraid your math doesn’t work. The amount of revenue received from increased taxes will be offset somewhat by the revenue not received because of jobs not being created. Further, the total, even if there was no offset, would not do much of anything. Obama has generously predicted it would generate new revenues to the government of $850 billion over ten years. That is $85 billion a year when we are deficit spending over $1 trillion per year. It means we, theoretically, reduce the deficit by 8.5% a year, but means we are still spending $915+ billion more than we take in each year. In other words, it won’t pay for anything or have much of an impact on the deficit.

            Sensata was a cherry picked company from Bain’s history and even that story was not told correctly.

            The reason jobs disappeared from MA was a little thing called the ‘personal computer’. MA depended heavily on companies like DEC, DG, Prime and others. Each tried to create a proprietary PC while trying to save their minicomputer business. People rejected proprietary PC’s and generalized PC’s replaced minicomputers. The minicomputer makers slowness to adapt killed them. Romney didn’t have a thing to do with it.

          • grammyjill

            Obama tried to pass a budget where only one dolllar was spent for every two and a half dollars brought in. The republicans in the house said it was good and would work well then voted against it. And no, having your taxes go up to the Clinton era (when all of us were doing good) probably wouldn’t make my husbands pay increase a bit. Getting his multimillionare boss to pay the workers what they are worth would help though. He use to make good pay, at the same place, but in late 2008 when the shit hit the fan, the boss cut everyones pay and the deductions went up. Over half of what he makes goes into deductions. Are you incorperated? If not, would doing that make your taxes less? I’m not a business person so don’t know, but I’ve heard corperations pay less taxes. I just heard Romney saying again that he will create 12 million new jobs but economists say that will happen if no one in government does anything.

          • montanabill

            The two budgets that Obama has submitted have been rejected unanimously by both Democrats and Republicans. What budget are you referring to?
            I told you I have both S-corporations and LLC’s. (Limited Liability Corporation). These do make my taxes less because I do not have to pay both corporation taxes and personal taxes, but it means that all profits are taxed at my personal tax level, which is the absolute maximum by law (about 33% not counting 6 state income taxes).
            I don’t know which economists say 12 million jobs would be created by doing nothing, but if business gets confidence that the government is not out to get them, which they would feel under Romney, expansion will start immediately.

    • Pi_Boson

      Unions don’t hire or fire people, and it has been analysed showing how unions help the economy. The bigot bosses want an ROI for their millions spent on buying the elections, so I guess ee can say they will lose money if Myth Romney is not elected and President Obama mves the country forward for the other 99%; then the 1% experience gains since the economy advanced. For the most part, the top 1% and bigots, sociopaths, or both.

      • montanabill

        Unions, in some places, can tell employers who they can hire and who they can’t fire. I’ll simply assume you aren’t in management.
        At the rate Obama is moving the 99% forward, watch out for glaciers.

    • Ant Duke

      IF it had been Obama…

      • montanabill

        Ah! Grammer correction. If the picture had been of Obama…

    • nobsartist

      what is a “union boss”? Do you know anything about unions or are you just talking out of your ass again?

      What about that jackass preacher that you listen to every Sunday? Why doesnt he have to pay taxes on the graft idiots like you give him every week?

      • montanabill

        Donald Trumka and Mary Kay Henry come to mind.

        Good question. You might research that for me.

        • nobsartist

          what does trumpka do thats so bad? does he threaten to fire union workers if they dont pose behind him in a speech full of lies?

          does he order union workers to vote a certain way?

          What is all of this hatred about?

          I will bet you dont like blacks.

          • montanabill

            Trumka is a noble man who would never try to coerce union members to do things his way or use their union dues for his political position.

    • Del WS

      You apparently don’t know much about unions. Four of my relatives have been or are Union members. Never once were they told whom to vote for or threatened in any way.

      What some company bosses are doing now, however, goes back to the intimidation that was practiced by companies years ago and then thankfully had either faded away or had been driven underground. Employees are working under the threat of being fired, passed over for promotions, or being given the crappiest work assignments unless they vote for and contribute to their boss’s chosen candidate. It’s unAmerican, probably illegal, and gives you a pretty clear picture of what kind of boss and company would be part of that intimidation. We are heading for a return to a horrible time period in management/labor history and I hope we can stop it before it gets worse.

      Oh, and if you didn’t like this article or the way it was written, I’ve already read other articles by other authors on the same subject and you can, too, if you take the time to find them. We must not fall backward and return to the days of the robber barons.

      • montanabill

        I would suspect that, like which company you work for, depends on the union. I would suspect that Richard Trumka, and Mary Kay Henry have not been shy about urging their rank and file to vote Democrat.
        I have not heard of a single case where a boss has required employees to contribute to a particular candidate. Union members, on the other hand, are required to pay dues, some of which in some unions goes to support their leaders’ candidates or party.

  • Mimi2kool

    GOP and other right wing types make it illegal for unions to use similar tactics, but use them mercilessly themselves. That is just plain wrong. And being coerced to support and vote for a candidate you don’t believe in because of pressure from the boss is so contrary to the principles that made this country great. Corporations are not people, contrary to Citizens United, but if they were, they would be the bullies on the playground. Defy the tyrants and vote Obama/Biden 2012!

  • nobsartist

    I am forming a new church. It will be called the “Church for all Organized Labor”.

    Anyone want to join? First, you must be atheist. I will not allow anyone that believes in fairy tales to join.

    • foolsdance

      Where do I sign, nob? I am a card carrying atheist! well, I would be if there were such a thing…

  • Canistercook

    Never read such absolute nonsense. Lefties are really scaring people – BOO

    • nobsartist

      just listen to any one of willards speeches.

    • browninghipower

      Nonsense? Please list just what isn’t factually true in the above article. Your bubble existence is showing, moron.

      • Canistercook

        Guess all who disagree with you are morons. Wonder who really IS the moron. Democracy takes an educated populace and It’s looking like we might have a lot of uneducated people out that who use the words liar and moron rather than discussing the issues.

        • foolsdance

          I don’t see you offering a coherent intelligent discussion? “Lefties scaring people.” Wow – your intellect is so stunningly apparent in that missive that I am left speechless…

          • Canistercook

            “Speechless” or dumb?

        • browninghipower

          You’re a moron because your original comment was void of any facts to refute the article. Typical of you all in the right wing bubble. You deserve no respect until you can cite a credible source. Get used to it. You are unable to intelligently ‘discuss’ the issues. Go back to Fox or The Hill where you’ll be among your own.

          • Canistercook

            You obviously are not able to discuss anything.

          • browninghipower

            Still avoiding the facts…and others are nailing you. I’m done with you. You’re still a moron. Buh bye.

    • foolsdance

      Mitt is on film, on record, holding a small business town hall – telling business owners to ‘warn’ (read: threaten) their workers in regard to their vote.
      Try to have a clue what you’re talking about when you are trying to play with the adults.

      • Canistercook

        Thought that you might be kidding but guess you think that is a truth. Wonder who thought up that propaganda.

        • foolsdance

          I doubt you are open to a dose of reality, but on the off chance that you are, go to youtube and type in mitt romney small business town hall – hear and see for yourself. I don’t think it’s the truth I know it is the truth. Unlike you, I live in a fact based reality.

    • neece00

      What about the righties scaring everyone with the loss of jobs (jobs has actually increased in the last 3 years) death panals with the healthcare reform (orginated with Sarah Palin) and terrorism (republicans love to remind everyone of 9-11 and how close we are to total distruction).

  • browninghipower

    I remember tales like this from my mother about how her father and his co-workers (factory workers in the Northeast) were threatened into voting GOP with loss of their jobs in the 1930s and 40s. Didn’t take long to recycle the GOP/corporate fascism did it?

  • marelbert

    Romney also told the CEO’s that it was NOT illegal to do this ,it is on video. Check it for yourself!

  • Clarence Swinney

    HELD PRESIDENCY———————————-28 YEARS—————22 YEARS
    JOBS CREATED—————————————-24 M———————-42M
    STOCK MARKET RETURNS———————–109%———————992%
    STOCK MARKETS RETURN PER YEAR——–2.7%———————-11%
    GDP GROWTH PER YEAR—————————2.7%———————-4.1%
    INCOME GROWTH PER YEAR———————0.6%———————-2.2%

  • jstsyn

    The supreme five would have been hung years ago.

  • Foot

    if my boss fired me because of who i voted for i’d have nothing left to lose annd he’d better wear kelvar

  • Foot

    my last post was a joke because not only am i unemployed but also unemployable due to health issues. but think about it is is policy akin to slavery and economic blackmail. what kind of zealot can endorse this madess? do you want such a man as leader ?

  • oldnick2

    Toward the end of 2001, Alberto Gonzales, U.S. Attorney General for President George W. Bush, is said to have written a memo upholding a “plan to hold captured individuals (citizen or not) at locations outside the United States, presumably beyond the reach of the federal courts and without benefit of counsel for the purpose of interrogation techniques that constituted torture. It was further argued that a president’s inherent power as the commander in chief of the armed forces permitted the designation of an individual (citizen or not) as an enemy combatant and his indefinite incarceration. All one has to do is add “political enemy” to the category. How can one protest from a dungeon on the other side of the world? Reference: Page 194 of Thomas Oliphant’s book, Utter Incompetents: Ego and Ideology of Bush.

  • Blaze Stryker

    Does anyone remember the old Marvel comics titles? They had a group called the Hellfire Club.

    These folks were a comics-created group, but they were rather different than the usual screaming, blood-spattered villains. They were a cabal of the wealthy and connected, seeking to promote that wealth and parley it into temporal and political power. Their Inner Circle even had intentions of world domination through largely economic means.

    I think the Koch Brothers and their slimy ilk may have been inspired by these things when they were younger, because their attempts to subvert, suborn, and commandeer the political process from the factory floor all the way to the Congressional floor comes off like someone trying “economic takeover” for real.

    I just wish someone would collate all this crap in hopes of sanity returning long enough for these clowns to be charged with sedition!

  • Hillbilly

    Murray seems to be breaking the election laws coming and going, he is threatening his employees with losing their jobs if they don’t give money to Republican campaigns and telling them how much money to give to the corporate headquarters so they can send it to the Republican candidates. That is exhortation and interfering with a person’s constitutional rights to vote as they choose. All of us need to send messages to the 5 Supreme Court judges that made Citizens United legal and ask what was it you said that there would be no wrong doing by corporations by allowing to give what ever amount they want to give to any party. When justices goes to private meetings and parties like Scialia has done with the Koch brothers they need to be forced to resign because of conflict of interest. Also everyone needs to get in touch with the election commission and the Justice department to get people like Murray, Koch brothers who also sent out letters to their employees saying if the right people were elected there would be lay offs and plant closings and gave their employees a list of people to vote for investigated for their exhortation of their employees and interfering with their constitutional right to vote for who ever they want to vote for. Also Romney since he was the one that made the suggestion they sent out threatening letters regarding the workers jobs.

  • hometown dude

    This country is going to hell when it comes to democracy when you have employers openly using tactics like this to intimidate their employees and nothing is done about it . Give a fools an inch and they take a mile. If these money grubbing moguls are allowed to get away with this then tell me what’s next? Voting is a personal/private thing that should be done free of intimidation or coercion. One would hope that the people of this country would have enough integrity and guts to vote their mind regardless of what anyone says. Don’t let these rich fools influence your vote!!!!

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