Koch Industries, the multi-billion-dollar company owned by conservative brothers Charles and David Koch, sent a mailing to its 50,000 employees earlier this month offering guidance on how to vote in this year's presidential election. The documents were obtained by In These Times magazine and provided to Up w/ Chris before publishing their report.
The packet sent to employees includes a letter, dated October 1st, from Koch Industries president and Chief Operating Officer David Robertson. Robertson writes:
While we are typically told before each Presidential election that it is important and historic, I believe the upcoming election will determine what kind of America future generations will inherit. 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 more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences. ... It is essential that we are all informed and educated voters. Our future depends on it.
The packet includes editorials blasting the Obama administration, written by Charles and David Koch for newspapers like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post. And then there's the flier it includes, containing information on early voting options and voter registration deadlines. The flier contains this passage:
The following candidates in your state are among the candidates who have received support from a Koch company or KOCHPAC, the employee political action committee of Koch companies.
Just beneath that passage, the document lists the Koch brothers' favored candidates for president and vice president: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Rob Tappan, Koch Companies director of external relations, sent Up w/ Chris the following statement:
To encourage employees to be informed about and engaged in the political process, Koch mailed a letter in early October to its 50,000 U.S.-based employees. It is also important to note that many companies, as well as organizations such as labor unions, also provide similar information to their members and fellow employees. Indeed, unions and newspapers go further than this and actually endorse candidates to their readers and members.
The communication to our employees makes clear that decisions about which political candidates to support are up to each employee and should be based on factors most important to him or her. In addition to the letter, employees were given information they often request – voter registration deadlines, early voting options for various states, and a list of candidates supported by Koch companies and KOCHPAC, Koch’s employee political action committee.
Because inaccurate and false stories were written about a similar letter we sent to Koch employees in 2010, we are posting the complete text of the letter below so that readers can see for themselves the true intent of the mailing:
And here is the full text of the letter from Robertson to Koch Industries employees:
While we are typically told before each Presidential election that it is important and historic, I believe the upcoming election will determine what kind of America future generations will inherit.
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 more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation and other ills. This is true regardless of what your political affiliation might be.
To help you engage in the political process, we have enclosed several items in this packet. For most of you, this includes information about voter registration deadlines and early voting options for your state. At the request of many employees, we have also provided a list of candidates in your state that have been supported by Koch companies or by KOCHPAC, our employee political action committee.
I want to emphasize two things about these lists. First, and most important, we believe any decision about which candidates to support is – as always – yours and yours alone, based on the factors that are most important to you. Second, we do not support candidates based on their political affiliation. We evaluate them based on who is the most market-based and willing to support economic freedom for the benefit of society as a whole.
If you are concerned about our economy, our future and enhancing the quality of life for all Americans, then I encourage you to consider the principles of your candidates and not just their party affiliation. It is essential that we are all informed and educated voters. Our future depends on it.
Also included in this mailing are wallet cards to use as you shop for some of the most popular brands made by your co-workers, information about our newly updated MBM® Guiding Principles and some thoughtful editorials by Charles Koch, David Koch and others.
President and COO
Koch Industries, Inc.
:: Sal Gentile (@salgentile) is a segment & digital producer for Up w/ Chris Hayes ::