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.
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.
Branko Marcetic is a staff writer at Jacobin magazine and a 2019-2020 Leonard C. Goodman Institute for Investigative Reporting fellow. He is the author of Yesterday’s Man: The Case Against Joe Biden.