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If you’ve heard about employers telling employees how to vote or their jobs are on the line…

… then perhaps you’d like to know where they got that idea.

Well, they got it from Mittens last summer.

In a June 6, 2012 conference call posted on the anti-union National Federation of Independent Business’s website, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney instructed employers to tell their employees how to vote in the upcoming election. In a phone call, after making a lengthy case that President Obama’s first term has been bad for business, Romney said:

I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. And whether you agree with me or you agree with President Obama, or whatever your political view, I hope, I hope you pass those along to your employees.

Obviously, the Romney campaign is complicit in corporate attempts to influence employees’ votes that have made headlines in the past few days.

On Sunday, In These Times broke the news that Koch Industries mailed at least 45,000 employees a voter information packet that included a flyer endorsing Romney and a letter warning,:

“Many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences [of a bad election result], including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.”

In the June call, Romney went on to reassure his audience that it is perfectly legal for them to talk to their employees about how to vote:

Nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business, because I think that will figure into their election decision, their voting decision and of course doing that with your family and your kids as well. 

He’s correct that such speech is now legal for the first time ever, thanks to the Citizen United ruling.

Beyond Romney’s statements on the call, it’s unclear whether his election operation is actively coordinating workplace campaigning by businesses. Romney press secretary Andrea Saul did not respond to In These Times’request for comment.However, the conference call raises troubling questions about what appears to be a growing wave of workplace political pressure unleashed by Citizens United.

Here’s Romney presenting this crap to businesses:

Attorneys General in 11 States call on Congress to reverse Citizens United decision.

Yesterday, 11 state attorneys general sent a letter to Congress requesting a constitutional amendment which would reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.

This section of the letter gives the historic background that SCOTUS eliminated:

The case overturned elements of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (also known as the “McCain-Feingold Act” or “BCRA”) pertaining to the corporate financing of electioneering communications in the run-up to primary and general elections. The Supreme Court ruled that these restrictions on corporate political spending violated the First Amendment’s free speech protections, thereby allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections.
In effect, the Citizens United decision overturned a century of jurisprudence, dating back to the Tillman Act of 1907, which supported Congressional authority to restrict corporate political spending on federal elections. With respect to the BCRA, the decision directly overrules key provisions of McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, 540 U.S. 93 (2003), which upheld the BCRA provisions that prevented direct expenditures by corporate entities on electioneering communications. Importantly, Citizens United kept intact other critical rulings in McConnell regarding disclosure requirements. However, by its decision the Court gave corporations the same rights under the First Amendment as individuals, and thereby severely limited Congress’s power to regulate corporate political spending and invalidated bipartisan, democratically-enacted restrictions on corporate behavior.

Hopefully this brings a start to an action which will eventually eliminate the Super Pacs and bring our elections back to the majority voters.

Hopefully, this won’t become a political volley between Republicans and Democrats.

Hopefully.

Bernie Sanders vs. Citizens United

Just a few days after Los Angeles California voted in a resolution that did not let Corporations be considered individuals, Bernie Sanders has proposed a Constitutional Amendment which will wipe out the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court.

Here it is:

Sen. Sanders’ proposed Saving American Democracy amendment states:

SECTION 1. The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes or to promote business interests under the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.

SECTION 2. Such corporate and other private entities established under law are subject to regulation by the people through the legislative process so long as such regulations are consistent with the powers of Congress and the States and do not limit the freedom of the press.

SECTION 3. Such corporate and other private entities shall be prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in any election of any candidate for public office or the vote upon any ballot measure submitted to the people.

SECTION 4. Congress and the States shall have the power to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own spending, and to authorize the establishment of political committees to receive, spend, and publicly disclose the sources of those contributions and expenditures.


Whether or not this will get anywhere has yet to be seen… but at least we can count on Bernie to keep it in front of the field during the upcoming elections.