Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | October 30, 2010

Barbara Boxer and McDonalds: A Tale of Two Illegal Solicitations

Huffington Post is beside itself that the owner of an Ohio McDonalds violated Ohio law by advising his employees to vote for Republicans so the McDonalds franchise could stay in business.

The owner has acknowledged his wrongdoing and apologized.  HuffPo is running after the dying story huffing and puffing at it, hoping to bring it to a full blaze.  (Seriously.  On a day when America has watched an apparent international terror plot unfold, the feature at the top of HuffPo’s homepage this evening is “Sad Meal,” emblazoned over the photo of a sinister golden arches-infested structure, egregiously lit up against the night sky as if no one had ever heard of a carbon footprint.)


“Voter Intimidation,” proclaims an incensed Amanda Terkel.  “Despicable,” says Attorney Allen Schulman, who has naturally been brought in by a noble whistle-blowing employee.  As night follows day, Schulman attributes this human-rights catastrophe to a “logical extension of the Citizens United decision, which has unleashed corporate arrogance and abuse.”

I note that we can suppose the following:  the McDonalds in question may well employ some minors (persons under the age of 18).  But in seeking to influence his employees who can vote, the employer was addressing only adults.

Barbara Boxer can’t say the same.  Her illegal solicitation, about which the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) filed a complaint this week, was intended to recruit campaign workers from among minors in the public schools.  Her campaign sent its letter, naturally enough, to teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Notably, its second paragraph suggests that teachers – also in violation of state law – had asked if their students could take part in the Boxer campaign.  Said the campaign:

The Boxer campaign needs volunteers to help with various projects in our Hollywood office… Now is the time to take action, please let us know if you and your students are available to help.

The hours for volunteers at the Hollywood office are helpfully included in the letter, as is the URL for a Boxer campaign video, “courtesy of the president,” which the campaign suggests teachers share with their students.  In case it’s not clear, this is a partisan political video hyping Boxer.

I note that in this case, the public school students are minors, and are being solicited to engage in partisan political activity – in violation of state law – by both the public school teachers and a US senator.

You will be shocked to learn that HuffPo isn’t covering this one.  It appears that the Los Angeles Times isn’t covering it either.  HJTA filed its complaint with LAUSD on 27 October, but not a peep out of the Times so far.  To its credit, the San Francisco Chronicle has picked up the story (broken by the California Flash Report; link above) – after Big Government, Pajamas, The Weekly Standard, and Daily Caller all published on it.

The Boxer campaign has basically affirmed that, sure enough, it solicited public school students to volunteer for it.  Now, speaking for myself, I’m more concerned about partisan political solicitation by teachers and politicians in the public schools, which you have to go out of your way to avoid putting your minor children in, than I am about a private employer expressing political opinions to his adult employees.  The McDonalds owner shouldn’t have broken the law, but voter intimidation?  Give me a break.  He can’t retaliate against his employees – he won’t even know how they voted.

In the world of Approved and Non-Approved Communication, however, we have to keep our categories straight.  Law is one thing, but it hasn’t really kept up with the zeitgeist.  Both of these solicitations were illegal, but for the left-wing media, one borders on genocide and the other produces only yawns and silence.

J.E. Dyer blogs at Hot Air’s Green Room and Commentary’s “contentions.”  She writes a weekly column for Patheos.


  1. I keep getting banned at Hufflepuff because everytime I go there I ask Awwianna when she’s going to write the definitive book on marrying money and breaking out as a first class dilletante.

  2. If you think Huf is bad, take a look at Saloon dot commie – it’s non stop springtime for Stalin over there.

  3. This very morning I opened a letter from the labor organization that purports to be looking out for my interests advising me to vote for the candidates they recommend. This missive was paid for, at least in part, through my dues contributions. But it must be OK, or they couldn’t do it.

  4. Barbara Boxer reminds me of one of my Mother, Mary’s favorite truisms:
    “You can take the yenta out of Brooklyn but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the yenta.”

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