Milwaukee County DA responds to Rite-Hite letter to employees

Milwaukee County DA John Chisolm’s office has responded to an inquiry regarding the controversial letter sent to Rite-Hite employees, informing them of the consequences of an Obama re-election. Here is the unedited text of the letter:

Every Rite-Hite employee in America should understand the personal consequences to them of having our tax rates increase dramatically if President Obama is re-elected, forcing taxpayers to fund President Obama’s future deficits and social programs (including Obamacare), which require bigger government.Rite-Hite is a Subchapter S corporation for taxes, meaning that our corporate tax rate is the highest personal tax rate. So what? Well, our RSP contributions are based on AFTER TAX profits. The tax rate we pay is not 17%, as Warren Buffet would have you believe; with state taxes it is roughly 45%. President Obama has announced that our planned tax rate would increase to roughly 65%, reducing our after tax income by 36% and dramatically reducing, if not eliminating, your and my RSP contributions.

Of equal importance, instead of the these profits being re-invested into Rite-Hite for future growth and profitability, the money will be sent into the abyss that is Washington D.C. So, on top of the burden of having your personal taxes increase dramatically, which they will, your RSP contributions and healthy retirement are also at risk, all for the sake of maintaining an over-sized government that borrows 42% of every dollar it spends.

The other big impact on Rite-Hite employees, if President Obama is re-elected, is the good chance of losing Rite-Hite insurance and being put into Obamacare. Employers have the choice (though competition in the marketplace will dictate), to continue their existing plans or to pay a penalty and have employees go into the Government Plan. Our plan costs much more per family than the penalty and hence the possible competitive need to drop the Rite-Hite Health Plan. Every opportunity to make up for lost profits to taxes will have to be evaluated.

Rite-Hite nor I will ever prejudice any employee for their political views, and, totally respect your right to vote as you choose. I simply am trying to present the facts as I know them and to protect the business you have helped build! Please think very carefully about your vote on November 6th.

This morning, Badger Democracy sent the following email to Chisolm’s office. Rite-Hite is located within Milwaukee County, and Chisolm’s office would have jurisdiction in this matter:

Dear DA Chisolm, 

Your office is most certainly aware of the letter Rite-Hite CEO/Owner Mike White sent to over 1,400 employees urging them to vote against President Obama in the upcoming election. If you have not seen the letter, I have attached a copy for your reference. 

I am asking your office to investigate whether this letter is a violation of Wisconsin Statute 12.07(3): 

12.07 Election restrictions on employers.

(3)No employer or agent of an employer may distribute to any employee printed matter containing any threat, notice or information that if a particular ticket of a political party or organization or candidate is elected or any referendum question is ‘s place or establishment will cease, adopted or rejected, work in the employer in whole or in part, or the place or establishment will be closed, or the salaries or wages of the employees will be reduced, or other threats intended to influence the political opinions or actions of the employees.

 

My opinion is that Mr. White violates the above statute several times in the letter. To wit:

 President Obama has announced that our planned tax rate would increase to roughly 65%, reducing our after tax income by 36% and dramatically reducing, if not eliminating, your and my RSP contributions.” (par 2) 

“So, on top of the burden of having your personal taxes increase dramatically, which they will, your RSP contributions and healthy retirement are also at risk” (par 3.) 

“…if President Obama is re-elected, is the good chance of losing Rite-Hite insurance and being put into Obamacare. Employers have the choice (though competition in the marketplace will dictate), to continue their existing plans or to pay a penalty and have employees go into the Government Plan. Our plan costs much more per family than the penalty and hence the possible competitive need to drop the Rite-Hite Health Plan.” (par 4) 

The final paragraph is clearly a statement that should President Obama be re-elected, employees’ current health plan will be dropped. 

Most disturbing is the direct connection between this letter and a call to action by the Romney campaign. On June 12, 2012, Mitt Romney held a “Town Hall” conference call with NFIB members. While NFIB refuses to disclose its member list, I have it on good authority that Rite Hite is an NFIB member. 

Here is the link to the call audio: http://bcove.me/e07ifp0d 

At 25 minutes in, Mr. Romney is addressing questions regarding Obamacare. At 26:30 in, Mr. Romney urges employers to communicate to their employees their opinions on this election, and the potential consequences of an Obama victory in the election. As an NFIB member, Mr. White would have access to this call and audio, and his letter is clearly an attempt to influence his employees using company resources and his influence as CEO. This is in direct violation of 12.07(3). 

I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.

At 1:00pm, the following response was received:

Thank you for this notice.  Mr. Chisholm is aware of this information and has forwarded the concern to Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf, who reviews election related matters.  If you have additional information, please direct it to our attention. 

Sheila Stanelle

Senior Executive Assistant to District Attorney John Chisholm & Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern

Something tells me Mr. White will be corresponding with ADA Landgraf in the very near future.

 

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