Former Senator Russ Feingold (formerly D-Wis.) who now heads
up ProgressivesUnited, a rapid response unit pledged to call out elected
officials and corporations, is circulating a petition
to get GE chief Jeffrey Immelt to step down as head of the President's council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
MoveOn.org has joined him in that push. They cite the
recent news that GE paid no corporate taxes last year while making over $14
billion in profits. Republicans have been arguing that at 35% the corporate tax
rate needs to be lowered.
NBCU, which remains 49% owned by GE, also took some heat
from the Daily Show for not reporting on the GE tax story in a Nightly
Newscast that did make time for a story about the fact that "Muffin
Tops" had made it into the Oxford English Dictionary.
NBC News spokeswoman Lauren Kapp told the Washington Post's Paul Farhi the newscast's story choice was " a straightforward editorial decision, the kind we
make daily around here," she said.
She told B&C Thursday that Lisa Myers would report from Washington on the newscast Thursday "recapping the allegations against GE and other companies," and would also cover the Hill reaction to it .
The focus of the President's council, whose members also include Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts and former AOL chief Richard Parsons, is on "finding new ways to promote
growth through investments in American business to equip workers with the
skills they need to succeed, encourage the private sector to hire and invest in
American competitiveness, and attract top jobs and businesses right here in the
ProgressiveUnited suggests that goal does not square
with not paying corporate taxes--"Mr. Immelt should not lead the
administration's effort to create jobs," it says. But if, as Immelt
has said, that was the result of complying with tax laws, it would certainly
promote growth in business since GE would have more money to hire and invest.
Immelt defended the company's low tax profile in a
speech Thursday, according to Chicago Breaking Business.
He said that the company was compliant with the laws and that its tax rate
would be much higher in 2011 as GE Capital, its lending arm, recovers.