January 23rd, 2014
08:14 AM ET
3 months ago

Ex-Shell Oil president: 'I felt extorted'

Editor's note: CNN's "AC 360" begins a yearlong series of reports this week about an enormous surge in political donations to candidates of both parties. Longtime corporate executives tell CNN that the incessant push for money amounts to "legalized extortion" but the cash buildup shows no signs of stopping.

(CNN) – The former president of Shell Oil USA didn't candy-coat it: America's political fund-raising system, he said, amounts to legalized extortion.

"I feel extorted," John Hofmeister told CNN's Drew Griffin. "Every time I wrote a check I felt that it was a form of extortion, the price of entry, because of the reception that you got when you contributed versus the reception when you did not contribute."

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Filed under: Congress • Fundraising
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. tom l

    @Wake Up!

    Why do you say that I need to get a life? Do you feel that way because what I write is contrary to what you believe so therefore I have no reason to post here. You should want to hear differing opinions. That's a good thing.

    Ummmm, because the hardcore liberals absolutely worships govt and thinks that they are the solution to any problem. I chastise the right all the time for the stance on social issues; you just don't pay attention. You are showing your inability to have a dialogue and find it more important to prove you're correct (or, in most cases, more importantly to try to prove that I am wrong). The proof is apparent as in my statement I clearly stated that BOTH SIDES ARE BOUGHT AND PAID FOR (read my earlier comment). I never said I was an "independent". I have always said I am a libertarian so there is no way that I could be beholden to one party as someone such as yourself is. Since the issues that are most important to me are fiscal, I will lean to the conservative side since I believe in their economic theory. I will lean to the left on almost every social issue from gay marriage to abortion to legalization of pot to etc. I'm totally open to have a dialogue and you can tell me where you feel I'm incorrect.

    January 23, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  2. rs

    tom l

    This is why I laugh when the hardcore liberals on here are so supportive of dems. This is just proof that both sides are bought and paid for. It is exactly what I have been saying all the time. If you believe that the dems care about the average American than you must believe in unicorns, as well.
    ________________
    You're irrationalty grows daily. I recommend a hobby. Politics clearly isn't it.

    January 23, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. rs

    tom l

    I love how the left is trying to pin this on Citizens United so they can try and pin this on repubs as if this hasn't always been a problem and these in the article was CEO before that ruling. But, by all means, carry on in your echo chamber. It's so constructive.
    ________________________
    Utterly bizarre! CU, the Right and even Mr. Romney have essentially declared "corporations are people too". That means nothing except that they have both the right to flood political races with money (their "First Amendment right"), and t essentially radically inflate the cost of everything in politics- precisely what has ocurred. Don't like it? Look in the mirror. Meanwhile chew on this: The Koch Brothers have given out $2 billion (yes, a "B") to overturn the ACA through their minions. That now seems insufficient to the cause- they are essentially driving up the costs of their own (somewhat self-interested) campaign because of the sheer volume of money they are throwing out there.
    That is the rawest form of Capitalism in action my friend- supply and demand.

    January 23, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. rs

    tom l

    @Wake Up!

    Ummmm, because the hardcore liberals absolutely worships govt
    _______________________
    Another utterly inane Rush Limbaugh belief posted as truth. Sorry, my friend, you are talking fantasy. This statement is no more true about me than me saying you prostrate yourself before the god of Shell Oil.
    Get over your arrogant little self.

    January 23, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    tom l wrote:

    @Wake Up!

    Why do you say that I need to get a life? Do you feel that way because what I write is contrary to what you believe so therefore I have no reason to post here. You should want to hear differing opinions. That's a good thing.
    -----------------------------------------
    Read the read the second to last post in the recent article titled "Take two in competitive House race in Massachusetts" for your answer. It's about 8 or so articles back.

    January 23, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. tom l

    @rs

    "
    You're irrationalty grows daily. I recommend a hobby. Politics clearly isn't it."

    ======

    Ok, I'm open to hearing how what I wrote was irrational. Why isn't politics a hobby for me yet it is for you? Is it simply because I have a different opinion. That appears to be the resounding theme of the hardcore liberals. If I don't think like you then I'm either paid (been accused of that), I need to get a life (because my beliefs differ) or a veritable plethora of other insults simply due to the fact I feel different from you about how to solve the obvious problems our country faces.

    As far as the citizen's united issue, Rudy, that is a good point and I wasn't aware of that ruling and it's interesting. However, after reading more, it appears that up until 1907 corporations were allowed to contribute but it was stopped then. In the 70's, they limited the amount a corporation could contribute. So you're correct that the Supreme Court ruled on this in the 70's however they limited it greatly the amounts that were allowed.

    January 23, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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