ConocoPhillips angers senator by declaring tax proposal 'un-American'
May 11th, 2011
03:56 PM ET
7 years ago

ConocoPhillips angers senator by declaring tax proposal 'un-American'

Washington (CNN) - A Democratic senator blasted oil giant ConocoPhillips for using the term "un-American" to describe his proposal to strip tax subsidies from the five largest oil companies in the U.S. and use the savings to pay down the deficit.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, said it is "truly outrageous" for ConocoPhillips to use the term in a press release it issued Wednesday and said he expects the company's top executive to apologize when he appears at a Senate hearing Thursday examining the tax proposal.

"For ConocoPhillips to question the patriotism of those public officials who believe they do not deserve billions of dollars in wasteful subsidies is simply beyond the pale and I expect an apology from the CEO tomorrow at tomorrow's hearing, Menendez said at a news conference staged at an Exxon gas station on Capitol Hill to highlight the Democrats' proposal. "It is simply not acceptable."

A press release posted on the company's main web site page is headlined: "ConocoPhillips Highlights Solid Results and Raises Concerns Over Un-American Tax Proposals at Annual Meeting of Shareholders."

The controversial word doesn't appear in the body of the release but the statement does cite the company's concerns about the "challenging political environment facing the energy industry, in particular, the potential impacts of increased regulatory burdens and proposed tax increases."

"These unprecedented proposed taxes, targeted at only five companies, would have serious effects on our company," CEO James Mulva says in the release.

Nancy Turner, a spokesperson for ConocoPhillips, declined to answer a CNN inquiry about why the word was used. Responding by email, she said only that Mulva "will discuss our views on the tax proposals in tomorrow's testimony."

Filed under: Robert Menendez • Senate
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. gt

    jersey shore senator ... spends other peoples money that they dont have the american tax payer ... he needs to apologize on his knees to the american people..for careless , wasteful spending ....

    May 11, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. kylefromohio

    Now the Real Walfare receiptant are mad you want them give back something that is truly a handout of American taxpayer cash. And they want it all.

    May 11, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  3. Bob in PA

    It's time for our representatives to stand up and take responsibility for waht they have done to our country over the last 60 years. They screwed up and they know it. Stop playing blame games and we need more tax dollars.Lets get rid of several wasteful programs and several hundred thousand Federal employees.

    May 11, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    That was dumb. They released a statement straight out of the GOTP playbook.

    The GOTP would like for you to believe that cutting the $4B tax credit would cause gas providers to pass along the cost to consumers. ( These tax credits were created at time when oil was around $10 per barrel and exploration was prohibitely expensive. ) These companies made that much in profit multiple times over during the first 3 months of this year, which was prior to the skyrocketing prices we saw in April. Do the math. How pennies of an increase per gallon recovers $4B over the course of a year? About 0.2 cents. You pay far more than that in sales tax.

    May 11, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. ConservaFASCISTS

    UnAmerican? What's unAmerican is that you multi-nation corporations have your headquarters in the U.S., but hide your money in foreign banks. Now you're upset because we want to stop subsidizing the most profitable industry in history. Get real! I'm sure Conoco Phillips, Exxon Mobil and the rest of you oil companies will do just fine without a subsidy.

    May 11, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |

    Dear ConocoPhillips,
    Taking tax payers money when there is clearly no need for it is truly un-American. When you make Billions of dollars of profits from the tax payers at the pumps and then you want some more more Billions from the tax payers in subsidies is not only un-American but it should be illegal as well. But don't worry, the GOP will block any bill that would takes away your Billions in subsidies because you have lined their pockets for years with our money.

    May 11, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. 'merica ruined by rethugs

    Ripping us off is un-American Mr. Mulva. Joe Barton will be issuing ConocoPhillips an apology though, while the middle class will be wondering why we're subsidising their record profits during this time when "we're broke", and we all must make "shared sacrifices" and if that hurts Conoco so that they just make good profits and not record-breaking...."so be it"

    Maybe they'll answer how many jobs have they added to the economy during these record profit days.

    May 11, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. Mikey

    It is "unamerican" not to give $4B to the most profitable industry in the history of the world? Really? How about we get rid of the subsidies, charge them a fair price for the public assets they are removing from our land, make them pay for all the indirect costs of their operations, and get rid of tax loopholes that cause them to pay a lower tax rate that most middle class families in the U.S.? How about it?

    May 11, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. Michael

    I find it ironic they would asy it would have a serious effect onb the economy. The outrageous prices thye are currently overcharging us has already had a serious impact on middle and lower income families with no symapthy from their end. Record profits at a time when people are spending less. But the bottom line is that a tax increase would be passed along to us. After all, they can charge us whatever they want with no questions asked. God forbid the oil companies would give up any of those bloated profits. They bath in oil which will only help them burn in hell.

    May 11, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. CBR

    So ConocoPhillips has made the unilateral decision that a tax proposal is un-American. What seems to be the truth is that the oil companies have made a great deal of money over the last few years because of the hikes in oil prices. I am sure the chief executive is making a pretty good salary as well. Meanwhile there are many in this country who cannot afford the high cost of oil and gasoline. Those of us who are trying to help people to make it through all of the price increases. We do not have the benefit of the huge profits because we are non-profits. We are raising funds and even using our own funds to be sure that people can stay in the homes, that the homes are warm and have food on the table. We give as much as we can. When ConocoPhillips uses some of their profits to help others we may begin to feel for them. So far I have not heard of any big plans to help people.

    The tax just might help the country and the people make it through hard times. Please remember It is un-AMerican not to help others and the country we live in.

    May 11, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Not good at math. Let's estimate that you consume 10 gallons per week, or 500 per year. Multiply that by 50 million vehicles, which gives a rough estimate of how many gallons we consume per year. Now multiply that by 0.16 cents, which rounds UP to 0.2 cents, and you get your answer of 4 billion.

    May 11, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. Thankfully Independent

    These oil companies are not losing money, they are making rather substantial profits ... so will some Republican explain to me why the U.S. Government is providing them with tax subsidies while we desperately need to cut spending to control a huge deficit that began under a Republican President, a Republican Senate and a Republican House?

    May 11, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Dan

    So taking money from billionaires and corporations and redistributing to taxpayers is socialist and un-American. But taking money from taxpayers to subsidize billionaires and corporations is perfectly patriotic and to take away those subsidies would be un-American. Wow.

    May 11, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    If taxes are so un-American, why did the founders of our country include Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 in the US Constitution? This section is also known as the "Taxing and Spending Clause."

    In case they don't know (which they do, and they're just once again throwing red meat to their rabid, unthinking, ignorant base of yahoos who consistently vote against their own self-interest in some misguided idea that protecting the wealthy is right), tt is the clause that gives the federal government of the United States its power of taxation. Component parts of this clause are known as the General Welfare Clause and the Uniformity Clause.

    Shame on Conoco Phillips for beings such tools!

    May 11, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. Patrick from Minnesota

    Not only should we strip subsidies for ALL American oil companies, we should force them to pay the taxes they avoid paying every year! And not only them, EVERY company (that would be 2/3 of all companies in America) pay their taxes or risk being nationalized. Lassez-faire economics has failed us. Get over it.

    May 11, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, said it is "truly outrageous" for ConocoPhillips to use the term in a press release it issued Wednesday and said he expects the company's top executive to apologize when he appears at a Senate hearing Thursday examining the tax proposal.
    It is about time these companies started giving it right back to the Democrats. Much of what they do IS unAmerican. In this case they have targetted specific companies, just like they do with the successful people in this country. They have shown over and over if you want to be successful then be prepared to be targetted.

    May 11, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. John

    Perhaps the way those companies have held the knife to the throat of our country is a rather more un-American than taking away their special tax breaks.

    May 11, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  18. Lisa Brennan

    Duh. See where their hearts and minds are? Profits Profits profits. On top of stopping the subsidies ( socialism) for these companies, how about taking it a step further and talk about salary caps? They cannot enjoy both private and public support for their industry and their payrolls while screaming hysterically about the ending of the subsidies as un-American. Either let the subsidies stay, but do salary caps. Or take the subsidies away. Our schools, health care, infrastructure, Head Start, libraries, Drug programs, Housing, Food Stamps....these need the funding. Not these Fat Cats. Please, the right thing.

    May 11, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  19. The Greedy Oil Pigs are psychopathic!

    This, in a nutshell, demonstrates (a) that the GOBP is a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Oil (bet not a single GOBPbagger condemns that language from Conoco), and (b) the linguistic terrorism that the extreme rightwing corporate predators will employ attack and manipulate the political system and public opinion. The idea that it is is "un-American" to tax huge greedy polluters making record profits tells you everything you need to know about the psychopathic nature of "patriotism" practiced by these filthy cult capitalists.

    What is truly un-American is that few if any in the GOBP will come right out and condemn Conoco's vile, disgusting and anti-American rhetoric.

    May 11, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    I wouldn't stop there ConocoPhillips. I'd tell them to stick it where the sun don't shine. The McCarthyism of the Democrats must be stopped. And people wonder why the jobs haven't returned to this country??? If I was running a business I'd be doing everything I could to pull up stakes and get away from this type of treatment. In a global economy, companies have global choices. And we all know Democrats are all about choices!!

    May 11, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. Stephanie Palmer

    Conoco Phillips has been living on the public dole for much too long. People can only get it now for 60 months – CP must have already been getting it for twenty or thirty years. Exactly who do they think owes them a living? Let them take their business elsewhere where they will get these benefits – this country couldn't afford it in the first place, and since we're now closing schools, I know we can't afford these handouts now. I'll stay away from those gas stations.

    May 11, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. seriously???

    Oil companies and the Republican party that defends them but goes on a witch hunt after NPR... gotta love it.

    May 11, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. sonny chapman

    He's right, corporate welfare is Un-American, so all who support continued tax subsidies for mega-corps. are Un-American.

    May 11, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. zin

    Where are all of you Common defenders on free speech now. it does indeed work both ways. just ask the supreme court 🙂 alan grayson and msnbc should have no problem with this type of language

    May 11, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  25. excitizen

    it is un-american to pay rich oil companies hard earned tax dollars

    May 11, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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