When the Boss Shows You His Ballot

Friday, April 22, 2011

Supreme Court ruling Citizens United removed financial limitations on how much corporations could give to political campaigns. But a lesser known part of that decision also nullified another law which restricted a corporation’s ability to advocate for certain political candidates and party platforms in the workplace. In essence, your boss can now tell you who he or she is voting for, and why.

In this week's The Nation magazine, Mike Elk broke the story about Koch Industries management sending an urgent letter to most of its 50,000 employees before the midterm elections last year, advising them on who to vote for at the polling station. Under the Citizens United decision, this is perfectly legal. Mike Elk and Paul Secunda, associate professor of law at Marquette University Law School, who specializes in employment law discuss this trend. They both say we'll probably be seeing a lot more of this kind of action in the 2012 election season.


Mike Elk and Paul Secunda

Produced by:

Kateri A. Jochum

Comments [7]

Karen from New York, NY

In answer to Mike's question: I spend my weekend updating my resume and tweaking my LinkedIn profile... because I'm going to be looking for a new job.

I first registered to vote during social studies class in a very strict Catholic high school. But even there our teacher (a nun) absolutely refused to tell us what party to register with, even when a couple of girls asked. She insisted that as good citizens who were 18 or would be by the next election, we had to register but that decisions like party affiliation and who to vote for were entirely up to us. God bless her!

Apr. 23 2011 07:39 PM
N. C, Rees

What happens when the "boss" is your sergeant in the army? My son was told to vote Republican when he was in the army and everyone was filling out ballots together.

Apr. 23 2011 05:07 AM
Cyto from Ft Lauderdale, FL

For Aviva Rahmani and any who might be under similar misapprehension: The Koch conspiracy involves massive cuts to the military, an isolationist (no war) foreign policy, the end of the drug war, equal protection for gay/lesbian/transgendered Americans and an end to abusive police practices like asset forfeiture and SWAT raids.

If "follow the money" means anything, they also are major funders of public broadcasting.

So your label of "military-industrial-coporate-Fundamentalist" is not very apt. You could include corporate in there somewhere, but military and fundamentalist are pretty much anathema to everything the Koch conspiracy seems to be about. Maybe "individualist-GLBT-peacenick-isolationist-corporatist-hippie-NovaWatching-potheads" would work better for you...

Apr. 22 2011 06:10 PM
Bob from NYC

Labor unions mandatorily collect money from members for political action that some members don't support. The members have no choice. Unions tell members who to vote for and supply people to work for most all times democrat candidates. I hear of no such outcry from the media at this clear strong arm tactics.

Apr. 22 2011 12:07 PM
Cyto from Ft Lauderdale, FL

I caught your panel discussion on the way to work this morning. I suppose the irony of a college professor, progressive magazine writer and NPR radio host discussing the dangers of politicizing the workplace was lost on you, but at least some of us proles out here got a laugh.

Did it never once occur to you that you each work in an office where being a democrat isn't enough, you must be the right sort of progressive Democrat to pass muster? And that Citizens United had absolutely nothing to do with your plight, as all of these workplaces have had this culture for longer than you have been in the workplace?

Apr. 22 2011 09:52 AM
Aviva Rahmani from NYC

The Koch brothers initiative is evidence of a corporate take over of this country. Either the USA will backlash against this or we are witnessing the birth of a new era of military-industrial-coporate-Fundamentalist takeover of the world. There is a movement for the "Rights of Nature." I wonder whether money will "Trump" all and take us all down a black rabbit hole..

Apr. 22 2011 09:45 AM
Peg from NY

I've not heard any comments from Koch Industries employees yet. Especially from those who don't listen to your wonderful program.

Apr. 22 2011 07:41 AM

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