In the course of a hearing entitled, “The Culture of Union Activism”, House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN-02) expressed concern that the governments needs to tread lightly so as not to “stifle employers’ free speech and cripple workers’ free choice”.
Now, comes the civil case 14-C-681, Jean F. Cochenour -vs.- Robert E. Murray, Murray Energy Corporation, et al … and the basic question is reversed … can the “employers’ free speech” in political elections, threaten a “workers’ free choice” when the employees job can be terminated ?
That’s the crux of the Cochenour case … and there is a definitive Minnesota connection.
No, not just John “Coal Man” Kline but also Minnesota Senator Al Franken and wanna-be-Senator Mike McFadden.
Yes, the MN Political Roundtable has already noted “Coal Man” Kline’s contributors … especially those associated with Robert Murray and Murray Energy but what Ms. Cochernour lawsuit provides is letter requesting contributions to political campaigns … and the amount is significant.
In a letter, Mr. Murray “invites” Ms. Cochenour to make a number of contributions to political campaigns :
We are requesting a $200.00 contribution from you for each of these United States Senate candidates. Your checks should be payable to “New Hampshire for Scott Brown”, “Ed Gillespie for Senate“, “Terri Lynn Land for Senate” and “McFadden for Senate”. If you cannot give the requested amount, contribute what you can and join our evening, even if you cannot give at all.
Why $200 ?
Well, campaign finance laws require candidates to identify any contributor giving over $200 in reports filed with the FEC.
According to Mr. Murray’s letter, Ms. Cochenour, a resident of Pennsylvania, was invited to attend a “huge fundraising event” “scheduled for 6:00 p.m., CDT, on Monday June 16, 2014 at The Foundation Center, Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg, Illinois.” The “important guests” listed Mike McFadden.
“Mike McFadden is an American businessperson on a leave of absence from co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market, a Minneapolis-based investment bank that he developed over twenty-years, to defeat a very bad United States Senator from Minnesota who is an enemy of coal and our jobs. While this is his first bid for public office, he is in the lead to win this Senate seat.”
Gosh, Al Franken does even get his name mentioned … suffice it enough that he is just “a very bad United States Senator from Minnesota”.
Mr. Murray lays out his plan to take out the “very bad” guys :
“Our only hope to stop them is by electing friends of coal and our families and by wresting control of the U.S. Senate from these enemies of coal, maintaining our current U.S. House majority, and electing strong, effective state-level leadership.”
It’s an eye-opening letter … coercion or extortion ???? … You be the judge.
But a judge will be involved … as Ms. Cochenour has been fired and has filed a lawsuit.
The lawsuit states :
“The defendants fired Ms. Cochenour unlawfully because of an animus against her as the only female foreman at the mine and/or of her failure to donate to the candidates of Mr. Murray’s choice.”
This letter is just one of many that Mr. Murray has sent out … The pressure to give begins as soon as employees enter the company, the Murray sources say — At the time of hiring, supervisors tell employees that they are expected to contribute to the company PAC by automatic payroll deduction—typically 1 percent of their salary, a level confirmed by a 2008 letter to employees from the PAC’s treasurer.
It makes you wonder how much money (at $200 and below) was provided to Chairman John Kline ?
These campaign contributions and votes by Chairman Kline have been noticed by his constituents … take the September 26 Letter to the Editor of the Savage Pacer by Allen Frechette of Shakopee … here are the highlights :
John Kline and I both have college degrees in biology and we are both fly fishermen. We are only one year apart in age and we both enlisted to serve our country during the Vietnam War. Despite these similarities we differ considerably in our life philosophies.
Despite his science education, Kline consistently votes against the environment
Kline votes in support of wealthy corporate interests that fund his campaigns despite the fact that those interests harm our district.
My primary disgust with Kline is his pandering to the carbon fuel industries, his biggest campaign contributors.
Kline is selling out future generations for his own moment of power and wealth.
There is no longer debate among scientists about whether or not our continued dependence on fossil fuels is causing global warming and drastic changes in climate around the world including extreme weather events.
But Republicans have offered no solutions and block any legislation that might limit the profits of their rich and powerful benefactors.
If you care about the environment and the future of our children check out Mike Obermueller, Kline’s opponent this November, at www.mikeobermueller.com.
Yes, voters should “check out” Mike Obermueller, but for Chairman Kline he has already cashed Bob Murray’s employees checks.