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Press Release

    GE’s Jeff Immelt Retreats on his Crusade for Energy Regulation

    05/05/2011

    Washington, DC- Today, FreedomWorks activists nationwide are celebrating the recent comments of General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, which imply that he is toning down his rent seeking campaign for Congress to pass energy-killing cap and trade legislation.

    During a recent event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Immelt ceded, “If I had one thing to do over again I would not have talked so much about green…I’m a businessman. That’s all I care about, is jobs… I’m kind of over the stage of arguing for a comprehensive energy policy. I’m back to keeping my head down and working.”

    FreedomWorks, along with the Free Enterprise Project, have been leading a national grassroots campaign since January to “Fire Jeff Immelt,” following his selection by President Obama to chair the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The campaign consists of online video ads, a petition, and a grassroots protest outside last week’s GE annual shareholder meeting in Salt Lake City. FreedomWorks and tea party activists also attended the shareholder meeting supporting shareholder resolutions, openly calling on GE management to fully disclose the business risk of GE climate change strategy to shareholders.

    At GE, Immelt currently employs a staff of over 900 tax experts and lobbyists, who by exploiting green energy deductions and loopholes in our broken tax system, allowed GE to avoid paying a nickel in taxes this year. Despite these tax breaks GE still receives government handouts and earned $14.2 billion in profits.

    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.

    “Although Immelt’s comments are a first step in the right direction, our campaign against government-corporate cronyism is far from over,” commented Matt Kibbe, President of FreedomWorks. “We still believe that Jeff Immelt should step down from his position as chair of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.  We will continue to call out GE, along with any other big businesses, who think they can profit from the size and growth of government at the expense of hard-working Americans.”