While private interests applying pressure to politicians to get their way is nothing new, Barack Obama has openly stated that he will decline money from lobbyists. However, that hasn’t stopped them from making their way to the DNC to ride the coat tails of the other politicians that are attending. DemocracyNow reports that:
Duke Energy, the nation’s largest utility, has played a major role in bringing the Democratic National Convention to Charlotte, North Carolina. Duke has a lot riding on future policies governing coal, nuclear energy and climate change, regardless of who wins November’s election. The company has partly been successful in fighting off federal regulations thanks to its ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, reportedly sponsoring ALEC’s meetings and bankrolling its attacks on clean energy legislation.
Politico further reports that:
The company is a leading advocate of a tax break on offshore profits, opposes some of Obama’s proposed changes to taxing investments and is criticized for paying very little to the tax man each year.
“It’s a little odd to have a company that is aggressively lobbying for a tax break involved” in the convention, said Matt Gardner, the author of a report on corporate taxes at Citizens for Tax Justice, a liberal group that has been critical of Duke and other corporations. “Duke has been staggeringly successful in paying nothing in federal income taxes.”
The Charlotte Observer reports part of the process through which Duke attracted the Democrats to Charlotte was via contributing an undisclosed amount of money, guaranteeing a $10 million line of credit and allowing the DNC access to 53,000 square feet of space it has it has under lease within the city limits. With huge energy lobbies having this much say in the steering the political machine, it’s not looking like the American people are sitting in the driver’s seat.