07 Oct 2010 President Obama Used Stimulus Funds to Reward Companies Pushing His Energy Policy
Washington, D.C. — Today policy experts from the National Center for Public Policy Research are calling attention to corporate special interest groups that received taxpayer money through the stimulus thanks to the President and that also are lobbying for Obama’s energy policy.
“It’s alarming that many of the remaining corporate members of the United States Climate Action Partnership – a cap-and-trade lobbying group – such as General Electric, Duke Energy, NextEra Energy, Exelon, and Honeywell all received economic stimulus funds. It seems pushing Obama’s agenda has financial rewards. The coordinated effort between big government and big business threatens our free enterprise system,” said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project.
General Electric seems to be a chief beneficiary of stimulus funds, with federal money being given to many of its businesses. As noted in a 2009 Wall Street Journal story, “General Electric Pursues Pot of Government Stimulus Gold,” GE CEO Jeff Immelt geared up his lobbying army to exploit President Obama’s economic stimulus package.
“Immelt hit the jackpot with Obama’s stimulus funds. According to Recovery.gov, GE is the recipient of over $49 million in grants and contracts from a wide range of government departments including Energy, Defense, Justice, and Health and Human Services. Not only did GE get direct support, the company will likely benefit from the hundreds of millions of dollars that went to GE’s utility customers – Duke Energy, NextEra Energy and Exelon. Looting public funds for profit appears to be a primary business strategy adopted by Immelt,” added Tom Borelli.
A renewable energy mandate is the latest energy policy being proposed in Congress. Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Sam Brownback (R-KS) recently introduced a renewable energy standard bill in the Senate that mandates 15 percent of electricity must be derived from energy sources such as wind and solar power by 2021.
“With cap-and-trade apparently dead in the Senate, Obama and his big business allies may push a renewable energy standard as a fallback position during the lame-duck session in Congress. The renewable electricity mandate would be an incremental step towards Obama’s energy goals,” said Deneen Borelli, Fellow of Project 21.
“A renewable electricity requirement will benefit GE since it will force utilities to buy wind and solar power products that the company makes, but it will harm our economy. Electricity prices will increase, leading to a loss of manufacturing jobs,” added Deneen Borelli.
The National Center For Public Policy Research is a conservative, free-market non-profit think-tank established in 1982. It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters, and receives less than one percent of its revenue from corporate sources.