ConocoPhillips angers senator by declaring tax proposal 'un-American'
May 11th, 2011
03:56 PM ET
4 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. Dot

    So ConocoPhillips must also think that the majority of American people are just as "Un-American" as Senator Menendez since poll after poll after poll shows the majority of Americans want these oil company subsidies stopped!

    May 11, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. Voice of Reason

    Why are we subsidising these companies? I mean, if the free market cannot reward them for innovating or finding additional fossil fuels, then WHY should we? Get this handout OFF the books, and put it somewhere where it makes sense. If you took the Buh-Zillions in tax breaks away from these companies, and simply divvied it up and gave it to people, we'd still come out ahead. Under the current method, we are ASSURED that 1) gas prices stay high, and 2) some executive gets a huge bonus so he can buy a third vacation house somewhere. It makes me want to vomit. Talk about un-American!

    May 11, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. Oregon Calling

    Did I miss something or aren't they "making record profits"? Not enough, just twisted.

    Peace :-)

    May 11, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. klarg

    OK, let's continue to give big oil subsidies and tax breaks – but institute a "arrogance tax."

    May 11, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. Voice of Reason

    How exactly did we come to this? We're giving Billions to these Oil companies in times of Economic freefall, while they are making record profits! WHAT??? How did the oil company lobbyist convinced your and my senators that this is a good idea? Was she really THAT good?

    May 11, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Why are we subsidising these companies? I mean, if the free market cannot reward them for innovating or finding additional fossil fuels, then WHY should we?
    ============================================================================================
    Why are we subsidizing solar panel and turbine production in CHNIA???!!!! Only your buddy Obama the answer to that one.

    May 11, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. Michael in Houston

    you big oil companies are a bag of laughs. With straight faces, serious frowns, and deep voices, you sit there and expect the consumer to buy your ridiculous "oh poor us, we are being targeted" crybaby crap when your companies are raking in amounts of money that are obscene. Your profits are on the back of Americans and you dare threaten us that if the US taxes you that you will be forced into staff reductions? That you wont be able to create job? Give us a break. Who do you think your talking too? You lay off people right and left when your profits are not so damn high. I say tax the soup out of your collective fannies and muscle up.

    May 11, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. Reggie

    What do you expect from those corporate suits who believe "greed is good?"

    May 11, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. REG in AZ

    Reality is never represented in the words they speak but it is always apparent in their actions and the results of those actions. We can easily see their priorities and their loyalties from what positions they constantly take. To then be swayed and manipulated by their words is not only ridiculous but also self-defeating. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the Republicans are stubbornly, arrogantly and totally committed to "big oil", to "big money" and to the extremely wealthy while obnoxiously expecting to, with the strong support of those who benefit, be able to con and manipulate public opinion. Does that mean the Democrats are innocent and all good and holy? Of course not ... but they do currently have the advantage of being more aligned with the interests of the majority, including the total middle-class, without having to lie about it.

    May 11, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. ITALIAN NONNO

    I'll tell what's un-American,.. consumers being gouged at the pumps, by a monopoly of greedy robber barons. Arrogant SOB.

    May 11, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    When is the Obama administration and the Democrats going to target GE for paying no taxes, sheltering money off shore and getting huge government tax credits and contracts? Oh yeah, they are an Obama lackey. Nevermind. What was I thinking?

    May 11, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. No_Thanks

    Senator, keep the tax break. Just let them DRILL BABY DRILL!

    May 11, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  13. The Greedy Oil Pigs have no conscience!

    Conoco is a whiny corporate welfare queen and not a single GOPBbagger will call out Conoco for leaching off the public. Instead the Greedy Old Pigs will go back to what they do best: trying to screw the average American and the environment.

    More proof: We now have an obviously bought and paid for rightwing troll posting regularly here to derail the topic with falsehood. Hint: There are plenty of successful people and companies that are never "attacked" by politicians on the left or the right. Stop lying DCW, your act is old and tired and to your corporate masters you're just a tool.

    May 11, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. beevee

    How is it un-american to tax. The oil companies amassed wealth by hiking up gas prices and putting a lot of middle class and poor americans scrambling to cut other expesnes so that they can drive to work. These guys are simply arrogant and they know they the GOP on their side. They easily can pay a little bit more tax.

    May 11, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. The Greedy Oil Pigs are psychopathic (just like the trolls they pay)

    DCW, plenty of people on the left, including Dems, complained about GE's lack of taxes. You're entitled to your own opinion; you are not entitled to your own set of facts. Admit it, you're a paid troll who comes here to spread fear and misinformation.

    Don't fall for this carnival clown, people, Conoco is out to screw the country, just like the rest of Big Oil, Big Insurance and Big War.

    May 11, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Murf

    It's clear Big Oil is filled with snake oil salesmen and spin masters. Take for example, the CP statement "challenging political environment facing the energy industry, in particular, the potential impacts of increased regulatory burdens and proposed tax increases."
    Now, I have yet to read Menendez's proposal but from what I'm gathering from the news stories, the Democrat's interest is in ending susidies and not increasing the energy tax. This is the kind of consistent effort we see from Big Oil in trying to spin their PR releases to present their "woe is me" position. Disgusting!

    May 11, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. klarg

    @Democrat Class Warfare – Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    You spout off about "Democratic class warfare" as if you truly believe the GOP hasn't been leading an assault against the middle class for two decades.

    May 11, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. 2 Old 2B Afraid

    Excuse me? Un-American? Hey, ConocoPhillips & all you other Corporate tax evading greedmongers: Taxes are the price we pay to live in a civil society. I suggest that, if you believe taxes are un-American, you move your businesses and families elsewhere. Perhaps that Libertarian paradise of Somalia where there are no taxes or government regulations. You can be as greedy as you want there. Good luck!

    I'm starting to believe all corporate executives, and their familes, must live in the country where their lowest paid employees live. If they don't want to pay taxes in America, they shouldn't be allowed to live here nor benefit from anything hard working Americans pay for.

    May 11, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Of course, focus on the he-said-she-said and skip the fact that the GOP has proposed in a bill to take all rights away from all other states/districts to hear cases involving oil permitting and wants to give exclusive jurisdiction to the 5th Circuit...which encompasses Albama, Missouri, Louisiana, etc. Why? Well, because so many judges have had to recuse themselves from cases there in the past couple years because of deep financial ties to the oil industry. They've even had cases where the court couldn't reach a quorum because of the judges' financial conflicts of interest resulting from ties to the oil industry. Yet that's what the GOP wants more than anything...the 5th Ciruit deciding whether an oil drilling permit is issued for offshore of MA or NJ or Washington state...or coming soon to a backyard near you in Wisconsin or Minnesota or Wyoming (or whever the heck there happen to be oil deposits). Southern, gulf-state judges with a financial stake in more permits being granted determining whether a permit should issue for ANWR in Alaska....GOP wet dream.

    May 11, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. RINOVT

    Democrat Class Warfare – Destroying the economy, destroying the country
    Can you explain in words we all can understand why we should be subsidizing big oil??
    Stick to the point, why should we subsidize big oil at all??

    May 11, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  21. Chuck

    Don't worry, Sen Barton will apologize to ConocoPhillips at the hearing tomorrow for this un-American "shakedown".

    May 11, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. ART

    They have some nerve, the days of Dick Chaney in your pocket are over you MF are raking in billions in profit on the backs of every American and the CEO are making out like fat cats, unamerican, we should be sending the Navy seals after these bastards

    May 11, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "spout off about "Democratic class warfare" as if you truly believe the GOP hasn't been leading an assault against the middle class for two decades."

    You're 100% correct. All the numbers indicate the exact opposite of the GOP's "socialist redistribution of wealth" nonsense. The REAL redistribution of wealth has been happening for several decades...and it's all trickling up, not down. Thereis no such thing as economic gravity. What goes up, don't come down. This is why the average ratio of high-paid excutive salary to middle-class salary went from 42:1 to 411:1 in the past 20 or so years. It's why the wealthiest 2% has seen it's wealth and assets increase by 281% over the past 30 or so years while the middle-class saw a paltry 25% increase that barely (if even) kept up with inflation and was massively counterbalanced by skyrocketing health care costs, education costs, home costs and average middle-class household debt. The GOP is fighting tooth and nail for its plutocratic utopia...a world in which the very very few wealthiest, land-owning elite tell the rest of us when to work, how to live, and when to die. It's the only out their narrow, myopic little minds can see for avoiding the effects of impending demographic shifts on their ability to dictate governmental policy.

    May 11, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. Clwyd

    Let's start dishing it back. With all the attacks on social programs as "Welfare" what do we call all these tax breaks that corporations, businesses and oil have been getting? Let's start Bills to get pay back from these greedy thugs in industry!

    May 11, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  25. The Greedy Oil Pigs hate real America and the environment!

    RINOVT: I wouldn't expect a rational reply from DCW, who I originally thought was a paid right-wing troll. However, after seeing the fact-free cultist nonsense he spouts, which is only marginally relevant to the discussion and not at all based on reality, I suspect he maybe a "bot" that (not-so) Breitbert programmed one night in a drug and alcohol induced haze.

    May 11, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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