Saturday, October 30, 2010

Citizens United Case At Work

In this Crooks and Liars piece, the owner of a Canton, OH McDonalds franchise is handing out voter information pamphlets to its employees along with their paychecks, instructing them on how to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. And, of course, that would be Republicans, if you know what's good for you.

The pamphlet, in part, reads:
"if the right people are elected we will be able to continue with raises and benefits at or above our present levels. If others are elected we will not.”
You like getting raises and stuff? Vote Republican. You want to continue making minimum wage and getting no raises or benefit bumps? Vote Democratic.

In an update, the franchisee did apologize for an "error in judgment." Of course he's still sticking to his guns on whom to vote for.

The blogger at Crooks and Liars does not attribute her claim that the practice is illegal in Ohio, so I won't comment on that. But this certainly is free speech that is protected under the Citizens United case. As I wrote back in January:
I [don't] disagree with the argument that the corrupting influence of money does have an impact on the outcomes of elections. I agree with that. But the law does not allow the state to restrict speech because we think it will create an undesirable result (with some narrow exceptions for violence or even narrower ones for obscenity). I think this should embolden individuals to coalesce more tightly around their common causes and to vote with their wallets. If, for example, a corporation openly argues a political point you abhor, don't patronize that product, organize boycotts against it, write op-eds, post on blogs and other websites, organize rallies in front of their corporate headquarters and invite the media, etc. That's right: the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case should get us off our asses to fight for the causes we champion.

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