David Perdue, Georgia's Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, defended himself Sunday night against charges that he paid female managers less than male ones when he was CEO of Dollar General, saying "it was less than 2,000 people" who brought the lawsuit against the company. "There was no wrongdoing there," Perdue said in a debate Sunday night against Democrat Michelle Nunn. "That lawsuit or that claim or that complaint was settled five years after I was there. She knows that. And it was less than 2,000 people. We had upwards of 70,000 employees at that company."
Georgia's Republican Senate hopeful, David Perdue, clearly hopes his private-sector background will catapult him to Capitol Hill. That'd be easier, however, if Perdue's business career weren't quite so controversial.
For months, the Republican has been hampered by his extensive outsourcing efforts, making it easy for Michelle Nunn (D) and her allies to paint Perdue as an inexperienced version of Mitt Romney. But we were reminded this week of yet another problem with Perdue's private-sector past.
Nunn responded that 2,000 women "actually seems like quite a lot to me who say that they were discriminated against," which seemed like a fair reaction.
Indeed, Molly Redden noted yesterday, "An annual report Dollar General submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission puts the actual number of female managers in that class action at 2,100. As Mother Jones reported in May, the women had been paid less than their male peers between the dates of November 30, 2004 and November 30, 2007—almost exactly the dates that Perdue was CEO (from April 2003 to summer 2007.) The class action began in late 2007, and Dollar General settled the lawsuit for $18.75 million without admitting to discrimination."
It's true that the matter was resolved after the complaints first surfaced, but I'm not sure why Perdue would see that as much of a defense -- the allegations still relate to pay discrimination during his time as head of the company.
The Nunn campaign was only too happy to put this clip online.