GE seeks support for GE-minded politicians

August 19, 2009

General Electric’s political action committee (GEPAC) issued the following letter to GE employees soliciting contributions so that it can support politicians who make money for the company, including with respect to the Waxman-Markey climate bill, financial services reform and military spending.

The e-mail (below) was apparently sent today by John Rice, the CEO of GE Technology Infrastructure:

Dear Colleagues:

I would like to invite you to join me in an important initiative available to GE leaders — the GE Political Action Committee (GEPAC). This year, Senior Professional Band (SPB) employees will have the choice to join other eligible employees to become members of GEPAC.

The intersection between GE’s interests and government action is clearer than ever. GEPAC is an important tool that enables GE employees to collectively help support candidates who share the values and goals of GE. While we must continue to engage elected officials to help them better understand our various businesses and how legislation affects our Company and our customers, we must also make sure that candidates who share GE’s values and goals get elected to office.

Our Company is heavily impacted by a number of issues pending in Washington this fall. For example, we are working hard to ensure that financial services reform includes provisions, which provide important new safeguards over the financial system, while allowing GE Capital to continue to be a vital source of lending to small and mid-market businesses in the United States and around the world. In recent weeks, we have made great strides towards convincing key lawmakers that GE Capital should remain a part of the General Electric Company.

On climate change, we were able to work closely with key authors of the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill, recently passed by the House of Representatives. If this bill is enacted into law it would benefit many GE businesses. We are continuing our efforts to make certain that a final bill includes provisions to ensure the United States maintains its leading position in the renewable energy industry, which is an industry sector of vital importance to the future of GE.

And the issue with the most activity out of our Washington, D.C. Government Relations office this month is the Joint Strike Fighter/F136 Engine. GE is working relentlessly to ensure funding for F136 Engine, which is a critically important program for GE Aviation.

I hope that you will take a minute to learn more about GEPAC and read through the attached FAQs. Passion, optimism, and the will to win are mandatory in any GE leader. Please understand, participation in the GEPAC is not mandatory. Participation is purely voluntary.

Thank you for all your efforts and for learning more about GEPAC. Please be on the lookout for further communications this summer.

John

While there’s nothing wrong with businesses lobbying, it’s pretty gross that GE’s profits depend so much the “intersection” of GE’s interests with government action and on lobbying as opposed to innovation. Moreover, the Waxman-Markey bill is nothing short of anti-American.

But such as the depths to which CEO Jeff Immelt has taken the company. Immelt has overseen the destruction of two-thirds of GE’s shareholder value. He only survives as CEO because his other board members are afraid of firing a colleague who shares a symbiotic relationship with President Obama.

What would Thomas Edison say?

4 Responses to “GE seeks support for GE-minded politicians”


  1. [...] GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt—Obama’s Job Czar and member of his Economic Recovery Board— stated he wasn’t “tackling climate concerns because it’s moral or trendy or good for PR…the biggest driver for me is business potential…” Immelt and GE will find much business potential in the menu of climate taxes, regulations and mandates proposed by O’Malley’s climate change commission.  Like Enron before it global warming legislation “would benefit many GE businesses.” [...]

  2. TokyoTom Says:

    Steven, I sympathize with your point, but you are actually barking up the wrong tree on GEPAC, which is not funded by GE at all, but is run and funded by voluntary contributions from individual GE managers – who have every right to band together to express their views.

    But where are GE shareholders, who are technically the legal owners of the company? Where is THEIR PAC?

    They, and shareholders in other listed companies, are generally nowhere to be seen, because the limited liability grant to shareholders encourages them to keep a distance, and to let management get involved in activities that may be profitable but shift risks to nonconsenting third parties. The result has been an escalating cycle of risk-shifting, reaction by citizens, regulation, and further rent-seeking by management – an enshrinement by the Supreme Court of #CorpSpeak

    But is this dynamic anything that really concerns you, or do you only care to protest the rent-seeking that you dislike?

  3. dublds Says:

    In nearly any business or industry, when political lobbying is used as a shortcut to fair competition, innovation and sensible business practices, it is a sure sign of failure. The government has increasingly been asked to intervene with labor disputes at the airlines and auto industries, and as we know both of these industries and their corresponding unions are hanging by a thread. The film, and moreso record industries have lobbied heavily for stricter anti-piracy laws. Nonetheless, anyone who has ever made a mix tape knows that piracy is nothing new or suddenly rampant. Fact is these industries have failed to remain relevant, and the internet has offered new and better alternatives.

    As for GE, I’ve said before and I’ll say again, GE is an embarassment. This news all but proves their new “save the world” mission statement is a front for “save our company”. And their shamelessness about their inability rescue their company through any means of their own should be a HUGE warning sign for investors. For a company with a history and name like GE has built, their current position should be a disgrace to them. But instead they are talking up their new government-welfare business plan with all the adjectives usually reserved for celebrations and grand openings. It’s absolutely pitiful, and I like many investors have run like hell from any long positions in GE. If nothing else, I would feel too guilty making money off a stock whose price was supported by poorly directed taxpayer funds.

    The only shame is that GE was once the poster boy for American manufacturing and quality. Now that they are taking a proud place in the welfare line, what does this say about America itself. GE is one of those rich corporations who we were going to tax to pay for our social programs. Now that they look to become recipients themselves, what is the plan?

    Obama?

  4. bmerr2009 Says:

    In the new “1984″ GE will be the brother to oversee alll of supported by their friends in all Democratic Congress.


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