Election PR Lesson: Inform, Never Mandate Employees’ Voting Decisions

Suffice to say, this presidential election season has been a boon to PR News, with the potential for several articles daily on any number of communications topics. There is, however, a thorny issue that has cropped up that not only touches PR, but intersects the topics of business, political discourse and free speech. And that issue is recent communications from corporate leadership to their employees that strongly implies to vote for one candidate or another, or else their jobs may be in peril. On Oct. 14 it was reported that employees of paper company Georgia-Pacific, owned by billionaire brothers David Koch and Charles Koch, received a mailing that stated they would “suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills” if they voted for candidates not supported by Koch-owned companies or its political fundraising arm.

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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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