Nov 25, 2008
Millionaire Fleming Forces Subway Employees to Campaign – What Other Ethical Lines Did He Cross?
It seems that pouring money from his own pockets into his campaign wasn't enough for millionaire Republican candidate John Fleming (LA-04) - he also decided to unethically force low-paid employees to campaign for him and used corporate footage in his campaign commercials, according to a new article in today's Hill newspaper. The new report brings up serious ethical questions, including if Fleming may have illegally pressured employees to campaign for him either during or outside of work hours, and if Flemings' actions break Subway corporate policy.
Fleming's own Subway employees spoke out today, noting that they were uncomfortable with the pressure to perform campaign activities while working at Fleming's Subway restaurants. Also, in the Hill article Fleming's "compliance expert" claimed that his campaign pulled an ad that used corporate footage. Yet at least three ads during Fleming's primary campaign used the illegal footage mentioned in the story.
"Millionaire John Fleming obviously has no concern for the rules or his own employees, as he forces them to do political work and disregards the line between corporations and campaigns," said Kyra Jennings, Southern Regional Press Secretary for the DCCC. "Millionaire John Fleming's use of his corporate franchise for political purposes certainly brings up significant questions about Fleming's character and what else he may have unethically pressured his employees to do for his political campaign."
- The Hill reported today that "two former employees of Fleming's Subways complained to The Hill that his workers were required to stuff the restaurant's sandwich bags with literature for Fleming's campaign... employees were unhappy but they were told it was part of their job." [The Hill, 11/24/08]
- While Fleming's "compliance expert" Paul Kilgore said that "when opponents began raising questions about the ad, his campaign pulled it," [The Hill, 11/24/08] records show that Fleming ran at least three ads with Subway corporate footage in them. In an earlier interview with the Shreveport Times, Fleming admitted that the footage used in multiple ads was not paid for by his campaign: "The Subway commercials were paid for by my Subway company and the campaign commercials, of course, were paying -- paid for my campaign." [Shreveport Times, 8/17/08]
- Under U.S.C.A. § 441b it is against FEC regulations "for any corporation whatever... to make a contribution or expenditure in connection with any election", including the use of corporate TV footage. [FEC.gov]