One month after Mitt Romney’s infamous 47% comments sent his campaign into shock, another revealing recording of the former Massachusetts governor has hit the headlines.
On a conference call with small business owners back in June, hosted by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), Romney encouraged employers to “make it very clear” to their workers that their jobs are dependent on the outcome of the election.
The tape comes on the heels of a letter sent by David Koch to 45,000 employees encouraging them to vote for Romney, and several other employers making similar requests. It raises the question of whether those efforts were prompted by the Romney campaign itself. The campaign has declined to comment on the recording.
On the call, Romney told his listeners:
“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. Nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business, because I think that will figure in to their election decision, their voting decision.”
It’s not clear what illegal activity Romney has in mind when he addressed the small business lobby. But his use of the word illegal underscores the sensitivities of political activities tied to employment security. Even in a campaign season dominated by large donations from corporations and individuals after the Citizens United ruling, Romney’s advice to business owners is another blurring of the line between business and politics.
Garrett Haake of NBC News reported on the call in June. Both the Koch letter and the Romney conference call were highlighted again by the liberal leaning website In These Times. Full audio of the Romney tape, which was posted online by the NFIB, can be found here.