Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Koch Companies Response to Mike Elk Concerning Employee Communications

The following email was sent to Mike Elk on Sunday, October 14, 2012.

Mike,

We received your request to provide a response to your story about Koch Industries and Georgia-Pacific. Given the timing late yesterday, we were not able to provide a response prior to your article appearing. However, we are providing the following responses to your story and respectfully ask you to update it accordingly.

Regarding the recent mailing to employees,
The mailing contained various pieces of information we believe are important for employees to know about, most importantly, our companywide employee newsletter that contained important information about our Guiding Principles.

Based on requests from many employees, the packet also contained information employees commonly ask about, such as voter registration deadlines and early voting options for their state of residence. And, also based on frequent requests, it provided a list of candidates in their state who are among those that have been supported by the Koch companies and KOCHPAC, our employee political action committee.

As stated in the cover letter and in follow-up one-on-one conversations for employees who ask, the information is purely intended to be considered among all the other information employees may be reading or receiving as an informed voter. We make it clear that any decision about which candidates to support belongs solely to our employees based on the factors that are most important to them, and this is in no way an attempt to “intimidate” employees. Any such claim to the contrary is completely untrue.

It is also important to note that many companies, as well as organizations such as labor unions, also provide similar information to their members and fellow employees. Indeed, unions and newspapers go further than this and actually endorse candidates to their members and readers.

As we regularly point out, Koch companies and KOCHPAC support candidates based on their support for market-based policies and economic freedom, which benefits society as a whole. Our support is not based on party affiliation, and we support both Republicans and Democrats who support market-based policies and solutions.

Regarding the social media policy,
The policy exists to inform employees about their responsibilities for what they post on social media sites and the laws that govern any claims or endorsements made by employees. The policy encourages employees to make only truthful social media comments whether workplace and/or non-work related, and to follow Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules on disclosing that they work for the company when making any commentary about the company or its products.
Koch companies strive to create safe, respectful and discrimination-free workplaces, and do not allow any unlawful discrimination and discriminatory harassment (including verbal, visual displays, physical harassment) in our workplaces. We do not retaliate against any employee who voices their personal political opinions, and any claims to the contrary are totally untrue.

Greg Guest
Senior Director, Corporate Communications
Georgia-Pacific

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