Conservatives rally outside Duke Energy meeting. Photo by Deneen Borelli.
John Downey of the Charlotte Business Journal has some nice coverage of our Tom Borelli and Deneen Borelli at the Duke Energy shareholder meeting earlier today.
Here's Downey on Deneen's question to Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers:
But some of the exchanges were testier. Deneen Borelli of the Center for Public Policy accused Rogers of using a $10 million loan guarantee Duke made for the local organizers of the Democratic National Convention to angle for a job in the Obama administration.However, this part was especially fun for me to read:
"Would you be willing to agree to a clawback provision on your 2011 salary if you take such a job?" she asked.
Rogers, who had been talked about as a possible energy secretary after Obama's election in 2008, said, "I couldn't afford the pay cut." As the audience laughed, he added, "I'm not looking for a job. I'm not asking for a job."
He explained during the meeting that the loan guarantee was made simply to allow Charlotte to attract the convention. And he pointed out that Duke had supported Charlotte's effort to attract the Republican convention in 2000. After the meeting, he said at a press conference that the $10 million is simply a assurance for a bank to extend a line of credit to the convention organizers here. The organizing committee will pay the bills. And he pointed out that he is in charge of fund raising for the organizers.
"So I am comfortable that $10 million will never be used," he said.
Although Duke is no stranger to controversy, emotions were running higher this year than in the past. Environmental groups competed with protesters with the conservative organizations FreedomWorks and the National Center for Public Policy Research for attention in front of Duke's Church Street building -- behind the Duke Energy Center -- where the meeting was held.I daresay the momentum is on our side these days.
The conservative crowd was more numerous -- about 70 protesters -- and more aggressive. The environmental and consumer groups seemed content to listen to their speakers and watch a bit of street theater arranged for the occasion.
The FreedomWorks group often attempted to drown out the other demonstrations' speakers and often walked over and shouted responses at them.
The environmental and consumer groups turned out about 50 protesters.
Read the rest of John Downey's article here.