Tea Party Calls for Duke CEO Jim Rogers' Head
CNBC EMEA Head of News
FreedomWorks, a conservative group aligned to the Tea Party Movement, is calling for Jim Rogers, the boss of Duke Energy, to be fired and has launched an online petition aimed at ousting him for his support of cap and trade and donations to the Democratic National Congress.
"Jim Rogers' flirtations with the Obama Administration and a radical Leftist agenda that among other things has included cap and trade policy, has put his shareholders and more broadly, his customers at significant risk," said FreedomWorks in a press release.
"Most recently, Rogers guaranteed the 2012 Democratic National Convention a $10 million 'line of credit' courtesy of Duke Energy to ensure the success of the event scheduled to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina," the group said.
"This scandalous, politically-motivated misuse of company money has helped to ignite a grassroots fire calling for his ouster," it added.
In a statement to CNBC, Duke rejected FreedomWorks' characterization of its efforts to attract the convention as being politically partisan, pointing out that local politicians from both parties lobbied on behalf of Charlotte to draw the Democrats next year.
"Our support for the DNC convention is rooted in promoting economic development and in showcasing Charlotte and the region on the national and international stage," the company said. "We supported a previous effort to bring the Republican Party convention to Charlotte in 2000 (Charlotte did not make the short list then) for the same reason and we are proud that we helped play a role in bringing the Democratic convention to Charlotte."
"Each and every local elected official from both parties supported this effort—all Republicans and Democrats on the Charlotte City Council and Mecklenburg County Commission," Duke said.
FreedomWorks aims to promote a petition to its million-strong membership and "actively" engage shareholders of Duke Energy to support a resolution that would see Rogers fired.
The group will petition a shareholder meeting in North Carolina next month, warning that "additional grassroots protests and a battery of television ads and online videos will be unveiled in the weeks and months to come as well."
"Jim Rogers may like cozying up to Barack Obama to suit his own political appetites, but in his role as head of Duke Energy it is completely inappropriate and unacceptable," said FreedomWorks President, Matt Kibbe.
"Policies that he is embracing like cap and trade and other elements of the democrats' war on reliable American energy threaten Duke Energy shareholders and ratepayers alike," Kibbe added.