by Julie Tisdale
City & County Policy Analyst
This week, David Siegel, CEO of Westgate Resorts, sent an e-mail to his employees. And now half of America has read it. Essentially, he told them to vote for whomever they wanted, for the candidate they thought would best serve their interests. But he also made his position very clear. He and his business can’t sustain much more taxation. If taxes go up, his whole business model will have to change. And that will mean fewer employees and fewer opportunities for the employees that remain.
Some have criticized Siegel for putting undue pressure on his employees and seeking to influence their votes in an improper manner. But that’s not how I see it. This election will have consequences, whichever way it goes. Elections always do. And it’s good and proper that all Americans, including Siegel, have the right to express opinions about what those consequences are likely to be. It’s also right that, if Siegel’s employees may be directly affected, he’s honest and straightforward with them about it in advance.
Siegel may or may not be right in his predictions. We can’t know for sure. And he won’t know how his employees vote, so he can’t directly retaliate against any particular employee based on his vote. But it’s good that Siegel is free to explain the situation he faces to those he employs. His speech shouldn’t be any less free just because he happens to be the boss.