The Slatest

Romney Wants Small Business Owners To Tell Their Employees How They Should Vote

Mitt Romney works the phones for votes at his campaign headquarters on January 31, 2012 in Tampa

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Thanks to Citizens United, employers can legally tell their employees who they think they should vote for. Mitt Romney wants small business owners to do just that this November.

“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,” the GOP hopeful told a group of small business owners this summer on a conference call organized by the conservative-leaning National Federation of Independent Businesses.

“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,” he continued at the tail end of a call during which he attacked the president as anti-business. “Nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business, because I think that will figure into their election decision, their voting decision and of course doing that with your family and your kids as well.”

The call, recorded on June 6, was first published yesterday evening by In These Times, a liberal magazine based in Chicago, and later picked up by ThinkProgress and the Huffington Post, among others. While the practice of an employer offering voting advice to an employee appears to be perfectly legal (as Romney points out), it’s nonetheless a somewhat controversial practice that never goes over well with liberals who see lines like “in the best interest of … their job” as akin to “vote for my guy or else.”

Here’s the audio of the call. The quote in question comes at about the 26-minute mark: