For Release: April 23, 2013
Contact: Judy Kent at (703) 759-7476 or [email protected]
Free-Market Group Criticizes Exelon's CEO over "Unusual Access" to Obama White House and Covert Dealings that Helped to Cripple Coal Industry
Obama's Favored Company Raked in Hundreds of Millions in Government Grants and Loans
Baltimore, MD / Washington, D.C. - This morning, at Exelon's annual meeting of shareholders in Baltimore, Maryland, a free-market activist representing the National Center for Public Policy Research criticized Exelon's CEO Christopher Crane over the energy giant's insider dealings with the Obama Administration that have yielded the company hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars and have nearly crippled one of Exelon's main competitors.
"Crane defended his company's crony actions and even got indignant when I brought up Exelon's cozy relationship with the Obama White House," said Cherylyn Harley LeBon, co-chairman of the National Center's Project 21 black leadership network. "Crane seemingly read a canned response to my question that avoided the major topics of my inquiry, such as how the company's connections to President Obama yielded hundreds of millions in federal grants and loans and the new regulations that harmed Exelon competitors."
In August of last year, the New York Times published an extensive exposť detailing what Times reporter Eric Lipton described as the Exelon leadership's "unusual access" to the Obama White House that led in-part to favorable regulations for themselves and harsh new rules that hobbled its competitors. The article noted that Exelon board member John W. Rogers, Jr. is a close personal friend of President Obama. The article revealed that the cozy relationship granted Exelon influence over new clean air rules in 2010 that essentially struck a death knell for many coal-based power plants that are among Exelon's main competitors.
"Crane did not refute a single sentence of the Times article, nor did he discuss his company's close ties to the Obama Administration," said LeBon. "However, Exelon board member John W. Rogers, Jr., Obama's basketball buddy, took a keen interest in my comments, perking up from his chair to listen intently to my points."
Among other revelations, the Times noted that Exelon was one of only six companies that received a maximum $200 million stimulus grant for a smart-meter project that the company had already planned. Also, Exelon secured a $646 million loan, with very favorable rates, to finance a massive solar energy project.
"The Obama Administration has treated the executive branch like a poorly run investment bank and our hard-earned tax dollars like monopoly money," said National Center Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq. "This is not governing, it is picking winners and losers, and it is a violation of the public trust."
A copy of LeBon's question at the shareholder meeting, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is an Exelon shareholder.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than 4 percent from foundations, and less than 2 percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. In 2012-13, zero percent of its contributions came from the fossil fuel industry or related foundations.
Contributions to The National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.