Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NLPC: 'Should Duke Energy Shareholders Be Nervous About DNC Loan Guarantee?'

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Duke Energys CEO Jim Rogers rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on July 12,2011 in New York City.
  • Ben Hider/NYSE Euronext
  • Duke Energys CEO Jim Rogers rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on July 12,2011 in New York City.

More than a few political observers have raised eyebrows over Duke Energy's role in the upcoming Democratic National Convention — and by "role," we're referring to the company's eagerness to bankroll the DNC as well as Duke CEO Jim Rogers' position on the host committee as head cheerleader for fundraising.

There's also been speculation that Rogers has been lobbying for a job within the Obama Administration for years.

From a May 2011 press release from the right-tilted National Center for Public Policy Research:

Deneen Borelli, fellow of the National Center-sponsored Project 21 black leadership network, expressed concern that Rogers' decision to provide the Democratic National Convention a $10 million line of credit from the company may have been rooted in securing a future position for Rogers in the Obama Administration.

"Responding to my question, Rogers told shareholders that he already has a job, but importantly, he refused to commit to giving his compensation back to the company if he did score a job with Obama. Given his close association with Obama's political agenda, his refusal to put his money where his mouth is raises questions about his true intentions," said Deneen Borelli.

Before the meeting, Deneen and Tom Borelli joined with about 100 tea party activists that were protesting Rogers' anti-coal agenda and his leadership of Duke Energy. The protest was coordinated by FreedomWorks.

Read the entire press release here.

Now, the also right-tilted National Legal and Policy Center is raising questions about Duke Energy's involvement in the DNC, too, wondering if shareholders should be nervous about the company's involvement:

In March NLPC reported that Duke Energy guaranteed a $10 million loan to the Democratic National Committee to host its 2012 convention in Charlotte, NC — the utility’s hometown. Now Duke CEO James Rogers — who heads the fundraising effort as co-chair of the DNC host committee for the convention — is silent about how much money has been brought in so far.

“One of the things that the DNCC really impresses upon us is that we need to work hard, raise the money, not talk about how much we’ve raised at any time because we just need to keep the momentum going and continuing to raise the money,” Rogers told WFAE, Charlotte’s local public radio station and NPR affiliate.

According to the report, Rogers and his teammates are not allowed to solicit corporations and lobbyists for donations, and “the effort is challenging.” And the muteness about fundraising progress is telling, considering that DNC officials proclaimed the gathering would be “the most open and accessible convention in history.”

Read the entire post, by Paul Chesser, here.

This is when we'll remind you of some things Kumi Naidoo, the International Executive Director of Greenpeace, expressed to Creative Loafing this past September:

"The very fact that [Duke Energy CEO] Jim Rogers was appointed as the co-chair is a very big statement about how close the dirty energy industry is with even the Democratic Party," the 46-year-old native of South Africa told a packed room at the International House. If its merger with Progress Energy goes through, Duke will be the nation's largest energy company, and it already is one of the world's biggest contributors to environmental pollution. "There isn't even an attempt to hide being in bed with each other," Naidoo said.

...

The Democratic Party's relationship with what Naidoo called the "dirty energy industry" is the sort of thing that makes the U.S. a joke on the world stage, he said. While the U.S. talks about wanting to be a green-energy hub, and while Rogers admits that climate change is happening and we should do something about it, the nation moves forward at a crawl, waiting for the next electoral cycle and for fossil fuels to give out, despite the job-creating and pollution-avoiding potential of green energy. In the mean time, Naidoo said, China brings a wind turbine online every hour and floods the market with cheap solar panels.

Read the entire article here.

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