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Washington, DC- Last Friday, President Obama selected General Electric Chief Executive Jeffery Immelt to chair the newly created President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Obama and Immelt released statements claiming the new council would “put our economy into overdrive,” boosting economic growth, job creation, and global competition.
President Obama’s latest executive appointment is crony corporatism in its purest form. FreedomWorks and the Free Enterprise Project believe that Jeffrey Immelt will use the Council to continue lobbying on behalf of rent-seeking General Electric, and to restrict its competitors in the marketplace. To expose this case of special interest politics, both organizations are launching a nationwide educational campaign including online video ads, and an online petition to fire Jeffery Immelt. A cable TV ad buy is also being planned.
FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe commented, “It’s time to break up the unethical romance between government and big business. For too long, corporate elites have lobbied to profit from the size and growth of government at the expense of hard-working Americans. We’re here to let President Obama and Jeffery Immelt know that the days of easy money through backroom deals are over.”
In the 2008 elections, GE’s political action committee contributed $1.55 million to mainly Democratic candidates, with then-candidate Barack Obama as the largest recipient. In the years since, the Immelt-led General Electric lobbied for the passage of the $787 billion “stimulus” bill, borrowed $16 billion from the Federal Reserve, and supported the passage of an energy-killing cap and trade bill.
“True economic growth and job creation come from private sector innovation, independent from taxpayer money and government mandates and regulation,” commented Tom Borelli, Ph.D, director of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project. “Immelt’s record at GE makes him the poster child of what’s wrong with big business leaders today.”
The campaign is supported by a recent poll of conservative voters conducted by FreedomWorks and the National Center for Public Policy Research, which revealed that companies supporting President Obama’s big-government policies risk suffering a dramatic drop in customer favorability. An overwhelming 81 percent of conservative voters active in the Tea Party are less likely to buy products from companies like General Electric that have actively lobbied in favor of Obama’s legislative agenda.
“To preserve our free enterprise system and individual liberty, Tea Party activists need to challenge progressive CEOs the same way they are challenging progressive politicians,” said Deneen Borelli, Project 21 and FreedomWorks Fellow. “By signing our petition, we can put Immelt on notice that it’s time for him to go.”