Whoopi Goldberg Falsely Claims Koch Warned Employees They'd Lose Jobs If Obama Reelected

As NewsBusters reported last week, Westgate Resorts CEO David Siegel recently warned his employees that he will likely have to lay people off if Barack Obama is re-elected.

With total disregard for the truth, ABC's Whoopi Goldberg on Monday's The View said it was "the president of Koch Industries" that did this (video follows with transcript and commentary):

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: The president of Koch Industries, which employs 50,000 people, mailed employees voter information packets along with a letter warning that if President Obama is re-elected, they will most likely be laying off employees. Now they're not the first to do this in business. And what do you think?

Before we get to the ladies' opinions on this mattter, there's a huge problem with Goldberg's premise: it's totally false.

To begin with, it was David Siegel NOT David Koch who issued this warning. I guess Goldberg thinks all men named David are the same.

As for David Koch, his company did send information to its 50,000 employees on October 1, and actually published the correspondence at KochFacts.com on October 4 for full disclosure to the whole world (emphasis added):


Encouraging Engagement in the Political Process

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. The communication 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 a PDF of the letter along with the complete text of the letter below so that readers can see for themselves the true intent of the mailing:

October 1, 2012

Dear co-worker,

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.

Sincerely,

Dave Robertson
President and COO
Koch Industries, Inc.

Did you see anything in that correspondence "warning that if President Obama is re-elected, [Koch Industries] will most likely be laying off employees?"

You want to know why you couldn't find it? Because it wasn't there.

So where did Goldberg likely get the idea that it was?

It started with an article from the far-left In These Times website which on Saturday published a piece entitled "Koch Sends Pro-Romney Mailing to 45,000 Employees While Stifling Workplace Political Speech."

Having been made aware of this article, one of MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes segment producers contacted Koch Industries for a comment on Saturday.

The producer was furnished with Robertson's complete statement from above, and asked to read the entire thing on the air.

Although Hayes did do a lengthy, multi-segment report on the issue of employers sending such political correspondence to their employees, MSNBC.com published an article Sunday with the headline "The Koch Brothers Use Their Company To Round Up Votes For Romney."

And the floodgates opened.

The Huffington Post published "Koch Brothers Send Pro-Romney Mailing To 50,000 Employees, Allegedly 'Stifle Political Speech'" hours later Sunday.

The Atlantic followed suit with "The Koch Brothers Sent Employees a List of People to Vote For."

On Monday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published "Georgia Pacific Employees Encouraged to Support Romney." Georgia Pacific is owned by Koch Industries.

Also on Monday, "Koch Brothers’ Company Encourages Employees To Vote for Romney in Mass Mailing" from the New York Daily News. 

Roughly an hour later, Goldberg would be telling her falsehood to millions of viewers.

Seems almost coordinated, doesn't it?


All this led Mark Holden, Senior VP and General Counsel, Koch Industries, Inc., to issue the following statement via email:

This is just another in the long line of false and reckless attacks against us by those who oppose our political and policy beliefs, and it is identical to a false attack lodged by partisan bloggers last election cycle concerning these same issues. The October 1 communication to our 50,000 US employees, which has been available on www.kochfacts.com since October 4, clearly states that it is solely for informational purposes. Our employees receive information about various political and policy issues from many different sources. The October 1 communication provided information employees often request from us on these issues. We encourage all our employees to actively participate in the political process and we trust them to make their own decisions based on factors that are most important to them.  Any suggestion that we are threatening, directing, or encouraging employees to vote a certain way is completely false. 

Indeed. But the truth isn't important here. There's a crucial election in roughly three weeks, and the media are doing everything in their power to keep Obama in the White House and Democrats at least in control of the Senate.

And these folks don't care if the facts get in their way.

For years now, the Kochs have been a target of the liberal media solely for their political views and the candidates they support.

As Barbara Walters said during this segment in question, "David Koch in other areas is enormously generous, especially to the city of New York." There are few people in this country that contribute more to charity than the Kochs.

But that doesn't matter, because they're conservatives.

What also gets lost in this discussion is that unions all across the country give millions of other people's dollars every election cycle in support of liberal candidates. No one in the media including Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar think anything of this.

But the Kochs spending their own money to further their views is to be ridiculed.

In fairness to Goldberg and Behar, they didn't say the Kochs were doing anything wrong or breaking the law.

However, the premise of the discussion was false, and The View should issue a retraction Tuesday along with an apology to David Koch.

As for the rest of the shills in the media echoing this nonsense, I doubt they have the integrity to fess up to their incompetence.


For those that can stand it, here's the rest of the transcript from Monday's The View:

JOY BEHAR: Well, I think it's called voter intimidation, and it's not very patriotic, but if that's what they want to do to scare people into voting for Romney, there's no way to stop it, unless the left comes up with something like, “You're all going to die if ObamaCare gets taken off the table." I mean, they can come up with scare tactics also.

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: There have been scare tactics along the way. I think in some ways, I'm not for voter intimidation at all. I think that this should not be a nation where it exists, though it is. We saw it last week, we talked about a couple of topics there. But I do think there is a bit of truth here, because we've heard it before that if anyone making over $200,000 or 250 combined, you and your spouse make 250, you are going to be facing major taxes. That one percent that they keep talking about, those are the employers of 75 percent of Americans. So you have all of a sudden now people facing more taxes, these companies are being honest. The first thing someone does when they have a cut in their pay or have to pay more taxes is not hire somebody or fire somebody. That’s the response.

BEHAR: I don't know about your numbers or anything, but all I'm saying is why not let the voter decide all this? Why not let the voter read and then decide whether he wants to vote for Romney instead of telling them what to do?

HASSELBECK: Why not be honest and say, “Look, I'm going to be facing cuts here?”

BEHAR: That’s their point of view.

GOLDBERG: Let Sherri in.

SHERRI SHEPHERD: Along with what Joy is saying, this employer, he also gave out a packet to the employees of people that they, you know, that they endorse. So I don't know if that's what, going along with what you're saying. You're actually saying, “Endorse these people. You don't have to but here's a packet of who we endorse.”

HASSELBECK: If you run a business, you have a right, if it’s a private business, to let your employees know if they're in danger. In fact, I think it’ an obligation, If your employees are in danger of losing their jobs, I would say you have an obligation to tell them.

BARBARA WALTERS: I disagree with you. Look, we also have people along with the Koch brothers, and by the way, David Koch in other areas is enormously generous, especially to the city of New York. So, you know, this is his political feeling. If he says, and other businesses have said, “If your man or your men gets in, that's terrible for the company,” that’s their right if they want to do it. It doesn't necessarily mean that if you go into the privacy of your voting booth and you vote against the way they feel that you're going to be fired. What he is saying is, “It's bad for the country, this is the way I feel.”

GOLDBERG: Well, that’s what they used to say about women too. “Women are not good for the country. Oh, don't put them in office. Don't put this one in and put that one in.” You know what? I'm with both of you. I feel like every voter has to take a look at the facts. Take a look at what both sides are saying. This isn't something your employer can tell you. This isn't something that a friend can tell you. This has to be your personal decision.

WALTERS: And not necessarily just how many taxes. It's also social issues. It covers many different things.

BEHAR: Why wouldn't somebody say, “Oh, if you elect Governor Romney, we're going to be in another war in Iran?” I mean, there’s a lot of threats that can be made. This is just one threat.

HASSELBECK: But this is a reality in terms of your job, and I think that the reality is that what is going to happen…

BEHAR: But we don’t know…

GOLDBERG: Nobody knows really what, because none of us. It’s been happening not just because of…

WALTERS: You know, I look forward to November 7th, we won’t be having these discussions.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.