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Working In These Times

Monday, Oct 5, 2015, 4:56 pm

Carly Fiorina Didn’t Pay Several Workers From Her Previous Campaign

BY Branko Marcetic

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She also refused to pay $30,000 in back wages to the widow of someone who literally died while poring over polling data. (Gage Skidmore / Flickr)  

Carly Fiorina’s presidential campaign is running largely on the back of her highly dubious business record as CEO of HP. While Fiorina claims to have single-handedly turned the company around, others say she was a stubborn and irresponsible leader who couldn’t handle criticism and fired tens of thousands of people.

Turns out, however, that Fiorina might have even more in common with your least favorite boss—she also didn’t pay her employees.

According to a Washington Post report released Sunday, Fiorina had around $500,000 worth of unpaid invoices owing after her failed 2010 Senate bid, most of which she only settled in January as she prepared to launch her presidential campaign. One of these invoices was a final paycheck of at least $30,000 for pollster Joe Shumate, who died of a heart attack one month out from the election. Although she wouldn’t give Shumate’s widow what she was rightfully owed, she did have a lot of nice things to say about her husband:

Upon his death, Fiorina praised Shumate as “the heart and soul” of her team. She issued a news release praising him as a person who believed in “investing in those he worked with” and offering her “sincerest condolences” to his widow.

It’s an interesting display of morality from a candidate whose campaign is being fuelled partly by a breathtakingly dishonest stand against the “moral depravity” of Planned Parenthood.

According to the report, it was small businesses—doing everything from sending mailers to building stages—who had to wait the longest for their money. Explained Fiorina’s operations director for her 2010 run: “If we didn’t win, why do you deserve to get paid? If you don’t succeed in business, you shouldn’t be the first one to step up and complain about getting paid.”

Fiorina has spoken previously about the importance of getting small business in America back on its feet, calling it "the economic growth and innovation engine of the nation." But if she can't even fulfill her promises to small businesses as a candidate, it's not clear how she'll manage to do so if she's president.

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Branko Marcetic is a staff writer at Jacobin magazine and a 2019-2020 Leonard C. Goodman Institute for Investigative Reporting fellow. He hails from Auckland, New Zealand, where he received his Masters in American history, a fact that continues to puzzle everyone who meets him. You can follow him on Twitter at @BMarchetich.

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