Stimulus Help Aside, CEO Says Vote Romney
WASHINGTON -- In this month's employee newsletter, the head of a Michigan processed-food company endorsed Republican nominee Mitt Romney and criticized President Barack Obama for spending too much government money. Jack DeWitt, the president of Request Foods, called Obama "a complete failure," slamming him on social and economic issues. He did not mention that his company received millions in federal money under Obama.
Request Foods obtained $5.5 million under a federal grant program that Obama's stimulus bill increased by $1 billion. Last year, the company greatly expanded its footprint in Holland, Mich., where it used the money for a water treatment plant to serve a new facility.
The company has also seen a strong increase in sales during the Obama administration.
DeWitt did not return a request for comment; his office said he was not available.
Holland Township Supervisor Terry Nienhuis said the Great Recession appeared to be a boom time for Request Foods. "They are going strong," he told The Huffington Post. "They didn't seem to be affected by it at all. In fact, I think that was one of their strongest growing periods. Yeah, they're doing well. They are providing very important jobs for people who are having difficulty finding employment."
With the help from taxpayer money, Request was able to add at least 250 jobs. That means workers who were hired, at least indirectly, as a result of the stimulus are now being pressed to vote against the president for spending too much money.
"The past 4 years with President Obama, trying to lead and represent us, has been a complete failure," wrote company president Jack DeWitt in the newsletter.
DeWitt joins a handful of other prosperous CEOs urging their employees to oppose Obama, including Westgate Resorts founder David Siegel and the Koch Brothers. Such corporate appeals were illegal for decades, but the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision freed employers to campaign among their workers as a form of free speech. Romney has encouraged companies to do so. Next week, the National Federation of Independent Business, which backs the GOP, is hosting an event to educate bosses on how best to pressure their workers come Election Day.