04 Feb 2011 Is Jeffrey Immelt’s Obama Administration Appointment Already Paying Off Financially for GE?
Writing on FoxNews.com yesterday, the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Dr. Tom Borelli predicted that President Obama’s appointment of GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt would serve GE’s business interests.
Has that prediction already come true?
Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner believes it may be so. According to Carney’s reporting, just a week after Immelt’s appointment, the Environmental Protection Agency granted an exemption (its first ever) from greenhouse gas emission rules to a California power plant that is now expected to purchase several expensive GE-made turbines.
Coincidence? Possibly, although no one gets exemptions from EPA permits without come kind of connection. Here’s what Carney concludes:
Maybe GE CEO Jeff Immelt’s closeness to President Obama, and his broad support for Obama’s agenda, had nothing to do with this exemption. But we have no way of knowing that, and given the administration’s record of regularly misleading Americans regarding lobbyists, frankly, I wouldn’t trust the White House if they told me there was no connection.
GE does spend a fortune on lobbyists, and its CEO is the biggest de facto lobbyist of them all. Check out the seating chart for the last White House state dinner, on January 19 for China’s Communist Party boss, “President” Hu Jintao:
Clearly, GE is benefiting from the Obama Administration, but with favored seating placement like this, it’s clear the Obama Administration also is courting GE. What might Barack Obama want from GE?