, 10/19/12, 8:00 PM ET

CEO to employees: 'Help yourself' by donating to Romney

Up w/ Chris Hayes has obtained emails from the CEO of ASG Software Solutions telling his more than 1,000 employees to donate to the Romney campaign.

CEO to employees: ‘Help yourself’ by donating to Romney

Updated

The CEO of a Florida-based software firm has repeatedly solicited his more than 1,300 employees not only to support Mitt Romney, but to donate up to the maximum $2,500 to Romney’s presidential campaign, suggesting that their jobs may be at stake if Romney doesn’t win, according to emails obtained exclusively by Up w/ Chris Hayes.

Arthur Allen, the CEO of ASG Software Solutions – a $375 million company, according to Forbes magazine – sent an email to his employees on August 27th, the day before the scheduled start of the Republican National Convention, asking them to give up to the maximum individual donation to the Romney campaign in order to help the company stave off financial ruin and save employees’ jobs.

“I am encouraging everyone to go to the Romney for President web site and contribute as much as you can to his campaign for President, up to the maximum of $2500.00 per person,” Allen wrote to his domestic employees. “I am also encouraging you to contact all of your friends and relatives and ask them to support Romney and to go to the polls and vote on election day.”

Allen, a longtime donor to Republican campaigns, also noted that ASG had recently “tripped a bank leverage covenant” and would face new restrictions from its lenders as a result, but blamed reckless government spending for the financial state of the company.

“ASG, like many companies, is still struggling, even after 4 years,” Allen wrote. “Many of our customers are waiting until they see the results of the election before beginning to invest again. We need to elect a fiscally conservative President and Vice-President and stop this ridiculous government spending. I believe that Romney and Ryan can put us back on the path to sanity, but even then it is not going to be painless for our country and ASG.”

Allen added: “Please help ASG and yourself by contributing to the Romney/Ryan campaign.”

Just over a month after asking his employees to donate as much as $2,500 to the Romney campaign, Allen sent another email – this time asking those same employees to defer “some or all” of their salary until December, in order to help the company make a $15 million interest payment. ”Even though our forecasts show that we will have the money to make the interest payment, I would like to have a built in cushion,” Allen wrote in the email obtained by Up w/ Chris Hayes. “For those of you who can defer some or all of your salary until December, I would like for you to join me and Mrs. Allen and defer your salary.”

Allen added that the company would add 5% to the dollar amount of the deferred salaries.

Despite the struggles of ASG and its employees – many of whom, Allen noted, have also been on a four-day work week for an extended period of time – Allen has proudly touted his use of a company-owned private jet, a Gulfstream G550 which, according to a pricing guide published by Aviation Week, costs more than $50 million. Allen was interviewed by Forbes magazine for a special advertising section on business aviation earlier this year, which wrote of the ASG private jet: “”Configured with 17 seats, the Gulfstream becomes an airborne hotel, restaurant and conference room.”

‘That’s where I live 250 days a year,” Allen told the magazine.

In a statement provided to Up w/ Chris Hayes, ASG said: “ASG Software Solutions is a privately held company and reserves the right to be honest and forthright with all employees about the future. All communications are intended to be informative, not coercive. We have always championed open communications, and on Monday employees will be encouraged to provide feedback in a confidential forum.”

As Up w/ Chris Hayes has reported previously, Allen also sent an email to his employees in September soliciting them to vote for Mitt Romney, and suggesting that their jobs may be at stake if Romney doesn’t win the election. Allen wrote: “If we fail as a nation to make the right choice on November 6th, and we lose our independence as a company, I don’t want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come.”

Of course, Allen is not alone in attempting to marshal the support of his employees to advance his own political interests. Westgate Resorts CEO David Siegel – infamous for building the largest house in the country – threatened to shut down his business if Romney didn’t win. Koch Industries sent mailers to its 50,000 U.S. employees in October suggesting that they vote Republican all the way down the ballot.

And on a tele-conference in June, Mitt Romney himself told business owners they should be telling employees how to vote:

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 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 believe that will figure in to their election decision, their voting decision.


Here’s the full text of the email Allen sent on August 27th:

To all ASG domestic employees,

This coming Monday, Mitt Romney will be officially nominated as the Republican Presidential candidate. I am encouraging everyone to go to the Romney for President web site and contribute as much as you can to his campaign for President, up to the maximum of $2500.00 per person. I am also encouraging you to contact all of your friends and relatives and ask them to support Romney and to go to the polls and vote on election day.

ASG, like many companies, is still struggling, even after 4 years. You probably heard that we tripped a bank leverage covenant on June 30th, and now must go through yet another round of unfavorable treatment by our lenders. Many of our domestic employees are still on the 4 day work week. Many of our customers are waiting until they see the results of the election before beginning to invest again. We need to elect a fiscally conservative President and Vice-President and stop this ridiculous government spending. I believe that Romney and Ryan can put us back on the path to sanity, but even then it is not going to be painless for our country and ASG.

Please help ASG and yourself by contributing to the Romney/Ryan campaign.

Mr. Allen


And here’s the text of the email Allen sent a little over a month later:

To all ASG employees,

From my emails you all know that sales were scarce in Q1 and Q3, negatively influencing our cash collections. We have a $15 million interest payment coming due on November 16th, and even though our forecasts show that we will have the money to make the interest payment, I would like to have a built in cushion.

For those of you who can defer some or all of your salary until December, I would like for you to join me and Mrs. Allen and defer your salary. For those of you who join with us, we will add 5% to the total dollar amount of the deferred salary and it will be paid in the regular payroll cycle in December.

If you would like to help out, please forward this email to Tom Romnios giving him permission to defer your salary.

Thanks to all of our loyal employees!

Mr. Allen

CEO to employees: 'Help yourself' by donating to Romney

Updated