Recently, one of the most powerful congressmen in America, and certainly the most powerful in New Jersey, wrote a fundraising letter designed to implore people to donate so that the Republicans could maintain power that’s threatened by what he calls ‘organized forces — both national and local — who are already hard at work to put a stop to an agenda of limited government, economic growth, stronger national security’.
One of these letters, was sent to the local bank in New Jersey. However, this copy of the letter had an added addition at the bottom of the page. This letter, had ‘P.S. One of the ring leaders works in your bank!’ scrawled across the bottom.
Said ‘ring leader’ is Saily Avelenda, who was a senior vice president and assistant general counsel at the bank before she had to resign. In a statement, she said ‘Needless to say, that did cause some issues at work that were difficult to overcome’. The employee was also asked to write a statement explaining her involvement to the CEO of the bank, a move that is completely unprecedented at her level of employment.
This is a story that highlights such a large plethora of issues and privilege is almost impossible to discuss them all now. As Avelenda explained, “my Congressman put them in a situation, and put me in a really bad situation as the constituent, and used his name, used his position and used his stationery to try to punish me”. Congressmen Frelinghuysen knew what he was doing when he wrote that letter. He was using his privilege as a man in power to silence those he did not agree with. Playing with peoples livelihoods is a new low for the Republican party.
The bank has recently published this statement.
"We recently received communications from members of our communities and customers concerning a news report involving an individual who identified herself as a former employee and noted her outside civic involvements. Lakeland Bank does not comment publicly on the status of our current or former employees.
However, as for civic and political engagement of our employees, Lakeland Bank’s Code of Ethics specifically provides that it is philosophy of Lakeland Bank to promote our employees’ full awareness and interest in civic and political responsibility such that each employee has the opportunity to support community activities or the political process in the manner that she or he desires."