Tea Party to take angst to GE shareholder meeting in Salt Lake City

Tea Party activists are taking their message all the way to Salt Lake City, Utah for General Electric’s shareholder meeting on Wednesday. FreedomWorks, along with the Free Enterprise Project and local Tea Party groups, is planning a rally before the meeting to demand the firing of GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt.

“Jeff Immelt is the face of government-corporate cronyism in America today,” said Russ Walker, VP of Political and Grassroots Campaigns at FreedomWorks. “As President Obama’s hand-picked chair of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, Immelt abandoned the tenets of free enterprise to lobby on behalf of rent-seeking General Electric, and restrict its competitors in the marketplace.”

FreedomWorks and the Free Enterprise Project launched a campaign against GE last fall as part of a larger effort to boycott businesses that lobby for or support the progressive agenda. The campaign is based on polling data that show when consumers are told about businesses lobbying for a progressive agenda, public opinion of the company drops dramatically.

The Free Enterprise Project will also be urging shareholders at the meeting to vote for a proposal that would require GE to disclose the business risk assessment of changes in federal climate change policy. In the past, GE has been an advocate for green technology and policies like cap and trade.

“Investors must be made aware of the significant business risk associated with GE’s gambit to profit from climate change fears,” said the Free Enterprise Project’s Tom Borelli. “To date, GE CEO Jeff Immelt has failed to inform investors that demand for the company’s renewable energy products is subjected to a host of political and scientific risks.”

“GE must tell its investors that demand for the company’s wind turbines and solar panels is driven by government regulation and mandates,” Borelli added.

At one point, GE attempted to prevent a shareholder proposal like the one the Free Enterprise Project is urging from even being submitted by appealing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC, however, rejected GE’s appeal and argument that disclosing information related to climate change policy is part of the company’s ordinary business practices already.