Duke Energy to Bail Out the Democratic National Convention by Committing $10 Million Loan Guarantee
CEO Jim Rogers Should Not Play Politics with Shareholder Money, says National Center for Public Policy Research
Policy experts from the National Center for Public Policy Research are expressing outrage over the decision of Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers to use shareholder money to back the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Duke Energy has secured a $10 million line of credit with Fifth Third Bank to back the convention, which will be held in Charlotte, NC.
Earlier, Rogers agreed to serve as co-chair of the fund-raising effort. However, with the new limitations on donations from corporations and lobbyists, Rogers and the Democratic National Convention might be having difficulty generating financial support. The loan guarantee engineered by Rogers appears to circumvent these restrictions.
"Shareholders should be outraged that their investment is being used to bail out Rogers and the convention. The role of a corporation is to make money for its shareholders and not to act as a branch of the Democratic Party. If Rogers wants to fund the DNC he should put his personal money where his mouth is and not put shareholder money at risk," said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project.
"The board of directors needs to step in and exercise its fiduciary responsibility to protect shareholder interests. For too long the board has allowed Rogers to travel around the world as a self-appointed global energy ambassador," added Tom Borelli.
The National Center for Public Policy Research has raised questions about the close relationship between Rogers and the Obama Administration. Rogers actively supported President Obama's cap-and-trade legislation and, perhaps coincidently, Duke Energy received $200 million from the president's economic stimulus package to develop a smart grid.
Given the revolving door of politics, the company's backing of the convention also raises concerns about possible benefits Rogers might attain in the future by being a benefactor of Obama.
"Since Rogers is close to retirement, I wonder if he is using shareholder money to secure his next job in the Obama Administration. Rogers and Energy Secretary Chu both support Obama's war on fossil fuels, and selecting Rogers for a post in his Administration could help the president look more moderate by selecting a CEO to a cabinet position," said Deneen Borelli, full-time Fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research-sponsored African-American leadership group Project 21.
"Instead of playing politics with shareholder money and perhaps looking for his next job, Rogers should focus on running the utility's business," added Deneen Borelli.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a Duke Energy shareholder. "We would object equally if the company backed the Republican National Convention, or any other party's activities," noted its president, Amy Ridenour.
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.