Corporate pawns of Obama big government

Oct. 8, 2010 at 5:08 a.m.
Updated Oct. 10, 2010 at 5:10 a.m.

Obama officials leaked confidential tax information about Koch Industries, one of America's top privately held firms.

Currently, there is an ongoing investigation inside the Treasury department concerning which laws were violated by Obama officials for the disclosure.

Koch Industries is the latest whipping boy of Obama's political hit squad. The real violation of Koch is having the temerity to give contributions to organizations against the Obama political agenda. Damn the 55,000 people who work for Koch. Someone inside the Obama machine has given orders to make the owners of Koch Industries pay.

It is amazing we still have corporate leaders who have the guts to stand up for free enterprise and put their money into the cause of protecting freedom. Sadly, most of corporate America has gone the other direction. Many corporate titans have signed onto Obama's team in exchange for a warm teat to suckle.

General Electric seems to be a chief beneficiary of stimulus funds, with federal taxpayer's money being given to many of its businesses. As noted in a 2009 Wall Street Journal story, "General Electric Pursues Pot of Stimulus Gold," GE CEO Jeff Immelt geared up his lobbying army to exploit President Obama's economic stimulus package. And it paid off.

A new report from the National Center for Public Policy Research tells the sad tale:

"It's alarming that many of the remaining corporate members of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership - a cap-and-trade lobbying group - such as General Electric, Duke Energy, NextEra Energy, Exelon and Honeywell all received economic stimulus funds. It seems pushing Obama's agenda has financial rewards. The coordinated effort between big government and big business threatens our free enterprise system," said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center's Free Enterprise Project.

"Immelt hit the jackpot with Obama's stimulus funds ... GE is the recipient of more than $49 million in grants and contracts from a wide range of government departments including Energy, Defense, Justice, and Health and Human Services. Not only did GE get direct support, the company will likely benefit from the hundreds of millions of dollars that went to GE's utility customers - Duke Energy, NextEra Energy and Exelon. Looting public funds for profit appears to be a primary business strategy adopted by Immelt," added Tom Borelli.

So here we have a study in contrasts. Support Obama and the millions flow to your bottom line from the U.S. taxpayer. Fat profits for GE and the cozy friends of Obama are assured. But if you cross Obama, watch out. Treasury will audit you, the EPA will harass you, and if you are lucky enough to survive the Obama economic chaos, you just might find yourself being sued by the Justice Department.

These are the same tactics employed by fascist, communist, and despotic governments for decades. But we have mostly been able to avoid this type of unpleasant behavior on the part of the bureaucracy because of the unique protections of the U.S. Constitution.

When Obama promised a change in the partisanship of the last decade, we doubt this is what most Americans had in mind. Opponents excoriated and supporters coddled is the new modes operandi in Washington.

The pillorying of Koch Industries is being done to send a message to others who might oppose the Obama juggernaut.

Floyd and Mary Brown are best-selling authors and speakers. Together they write a national weekly column distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Floyd is also president of the Western Center for Journalism. To comment on this column, e-mail



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