Monday, February 14, 2011

"Setting the Record Straight: GE and the Federal Government" General Electric's Rebuttal (GE)

From General Electric:
Recently, several commentators have alleged that GE is dependent on the government for its revenues and that it has been the beneficiary of government largess in the form of bailouts and special treatment.
The facts are actually quite different. GE’s revenues from doing business with the U.S. government are just 4% of total revenues, and 75% of that government business is performed in support of the U.S. military (GE provides jet engines for military aircraft). Non-defense work with the government actually amounts to just 1% of GE’s total revenues.

On the stimulus program, GE received grants of about $200 million out of the $800 billion in government spending. While any use or receipt of a single taxpayer dollar is significant, even more so given current economic conditions, GE’s portion of stimulus dollars is nevertheless relatively small — about 0.025%, or 1/4000, of total stimulus spending. GE received these funds over the course of several years. If received in one fiscal year, it would represent about 0.1% of GE revenues.

Additionally, GE never received a bailout from the U.S. government, and did not participate in TARP. GE did willingly participate in other programs widely available to hundreds of financial institutions that were designed to stabilize the economy, including the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program (TLGP) and the Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF). In both these programs, taxpayers actually profited from GE’s participation through fees and interest.

GE is proud of its work on behalf of all its customers, especially its support of the U.S. military. However, the facts clearly demonstrate that GE is not dependent on the U.S. government and implications to the contrary are simply false.
The press release goes on to show a lovely picture of the U.S. Capitol which, unfortunately does not point out "Gucci Gulch". From OpenSecrets:

GUCCI GULCH — Term used to refer to all lobbyists as a collective entity. Refers to lobbyists’ affinity for fashionable clothing and their ability to easily pay for such clothes. 

Can also refer to the hallways outside appropriations and other major committee rooms, which are often populated by lobbyists hoping to get a word in with a member of Congress....
Also at OpenSecrets we see that for the years 1998-2009 GE is the third largest lobbyist, clocking in at $236,580,000. This amount does not include the dozens of trade organizations the GE is a member of.
For example, at $738,825,680 the #1 lobbyist,  the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

To these numbers you can add the company's $19,605,382 in direct political contributions.

GE spent this more-than-a-quarter-billion dollars for what exactly?