The mad dogs of Citizens United

Monday, November 5, 2012   |   Posted by Jim Hightower
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As feared, our people's democratic authority has been dogged nearly to death by the hounds of money in this year's election go 'round, thanks to the Supreme Court's reckless decree in the Citizens United case.

That rank political power play by five black-robed partisans unleashed the Big Dogs of corporate money to bite democracy right in the butt, 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. Having been given a legal pass, bosses are openly conscripting employees to be political troopers for corporate-backed candidates.

For example, CEO David Siegel of Westgate Resorts, a major peddler of time-share 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 multimillionaires 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. Robertson even included a slate-card of Koch-approved candidates for them to take into the polling booth. How helpful!

Of course, corporate chieftains say they're not making threats – just friendly suggestions on how to vote. Oh, sure. As we know, everyone is equal in the corporate hierarchy, and you're perfectly free to defy the guy who can fire you. Good luck with that.

"Law lets boss suggest how to vote," Austin American Statesman, October 27, 2012.

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