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Duke Energy’s Loan to the DNC Won’t Be Repaid



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The Democratic National Committee will not repay Duke Energy for a $10 million line of credit to help finance the party’s September 2012 convention in Charlotte, N.C., leaving company shareholders on the hook for roughly two-thirds of the total cost.

The Charlotte Observer reports today:

Duke Energy won’t be repaid the $10 million line of credit it guaranteed for Charlotte to host last year’s Democratic National Convention, the company confirmed Thursday.

As the credit line came due, Duke made official what it had signaled to shareholders in an earnings report last November. Because Duke can claim the money as a business expense for tax purposes, shareholders will foot $6 million of the cost.

Democrats had hailed the 2012 convention as the first of its kind not to be financed by corporate donations, even though it ultimately did rely heavily on corporate cash. The $10 million loan-turned-donation is just the latest example. And it’s not entirely surprising, given Duke Energy’s history of financial ties to the Democratic party.

Jim Rogers, the recently ousted CEO of Duke Energy who also served as co-chairman (and lead fundraiser) for the DNC convention, authorized the credit arrangement, and said that even if the money was never repaid, “it’s just a contribution we’re making I think for the greater good of our community.”

Rogers and his wife, Mary Anne, have donated more than $210,000 to Democratic candidates and committees since 2008, including more than $150,000 to the DNC, and $19,200 to President Obama.

During that same period, Duke Energy has been on the receiving end of millions of dollars in federal funding, including more than $230 million in grants for green-energy projects allocated in the 2009 stimulus package. The company also won a $350,000 grant to collaborate with General Motors on the development of the Chevrolet Volt, the president’s preferred vehicle for secret “joy rides” on the White House grounds.

Duke Energy, which has spent $26 million lobbying on energy-related issues since 2007, hired the Podesta Group, a firm founded by long-time Obama ally John Podesta, the former president of the Center for American Progress. The company paid the firm $860,000 to “support the passage of climate change and energy legislation,” as well as “energy efficiency and clean energy solutions,” according to public records.

Rogers is currently rumored to be on the shortlist to succeed Obama’s outgoing energy secretary Steven Chu.



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