Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Contractor in CunningScam scandal compelled donations from employees

Marcus Stern of Copley News Service (in the San Diego Union-Tribune) has the latest about three employees of defense contractor MZM who were told to make political donations:

Workers say MZM founder pressed them to give to PAC

WASHINGTON – Mitchell Wade, founder of the defense contracting firm MZM Inc., pressured employees to donate to a political fund that benefited Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham and other members of Congress, according to three former employees of the company.

Wade, who took a $700,000 loss on the purchase of Cunningham's Del Mar home and allows the congressman to stay on his yacht while in Washington, demanded employees make donations to the company's political action committee, MZM PAC, they said.

"By the spring of '02, Mitch was twisting employees' arms to donate to his MZM PAC," said one former employee. "We were called in and told basically either donate to the MZM PAC or we would be fired."

Many companies have PACs, but campaign finance laws prohibit employers from pressuring workers to contribute to the PAC. They may encourage contributions, but not compel them.

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has been following this closely.


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