January 23rd, 2014
08:14 AM ET
8 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."

FULL STORY

Filed under: Congress • Fundraising
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    "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."
    -----------------------–
    So, why'd you go? If the only reason why you're invited to a party is for your wallet, then why go to the party?

    January 23, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  2. Malory Archer

    Time to change election laws in this country and make ALL elections publicly funded with a set amount of $$$ for each candidate, and a limited campaign season.

    January 23, 2014 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. tom l

    This is exactly why I laugh at the hardcore liberals on here that think that dems actually care about them. As I have always said, the only issues that a politician care about are power and more money. Both sides are guilty. Lobbyists are the big issue (and that hasn't changed one iota with this administration – no change, no difference at all). And you on the hardcore left are such suckers to believe that they actually care about you.

    January 23, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  4. I Got this!

    Well said time to kick out pink money, oil money, abortion money, eco money, out of the system. I think we have surpassed Zimbabwe with corruption.

    January 23, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    Of course it is extortion........and both political parties do that.

    January 23, 2014 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  6. ChrisM

    Time to reverse the Citizens United ruling.

    January 23, 2014 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    I Got this!

    Well said time to kick out pink money, oil money, abortion money, eco money, out of the system. I think we have surpassed Zimbabwe with corruption.
    ------------------------–
    We can start with that perverted concept of democracy that says corporations are people. If we continue down this road that we're on, how long will it be before "corporate people" start demanding the right to vote? I think within a decade.

    January 23, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  8. Hector Slagg

    When you are up against the Great Unwashed you have to defend yourself the best you can. The peasants all think Big Business is screwing them right and left. While many have moved to greener pastures, (Offshore) other's can't so they fill the Moats the best they can and hunker down. Even so, the law of averages is quietly at work and helps level the playing field. The Peasants are beginning to storm the gates as the polls are showing. Paying that protection money is getting old!

    January 23, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. Anonymous

    I saw part of this, and it was also pointed out that each member of Congress can use some of this money any way
    they want to, which may account for so many of them suddenly becoming millionaires today.

    I'm glad CNN is doing this and hopefully many people will see it and be outraged enough to do something about it.

    January 23, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. 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.

    January 23, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. Thomas

    How do you think I feel when I fill up my car ?

    January 23, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. just spraying

    Literally the only piece of legislation that went through uncontested. Citizens united, gotta love the names the gop put on these laws adding insult to injury. Right to work, yup, all the minimum wage jobs you like.

    January 23, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. rs

    In the world of "pay for play" politics, and now Citizens United this is the new norm. It was not all that long ago a few $million was a presidential campaign war chest. Now you need that to run a fair camaign in state legislatures.

    January 23, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  14. jk sfl the gop is going to lose the house becauseof gop teaparty idiots like rick mcdannal

    shell probably gave to much money to the gop trying to keep their 40 billion in tax breaks. that's why their profits tanked this year.

    January 23, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. rs

    Thomas

    How do you think I feel when I fill up my car ?
    ______________________
    I am not sure what this has to do with anything given the cheap nature of the U.S. gasoline supply (vs. pretty much anywhere else in the world). Our prices are capitalism- supply and demand baby!

    January 23, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. The REAL Truth...

    repeal citizens united, revamp the 401(c) rules for PAC's, and revoke the ruling on corporations are people and that campaign donations are an expression of your first Amendment right.
    That last one reminds me of Animal Farm where we're all equal, but some are more equal (got more $$) than others..
    sheesh..

    January 23, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  17. wendel

    stop going bozo. Keep your money God knows you need it. And keep taking ours while your at it. Bad laws but hearing this rich guy complain is really funny.

    January 23, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. just spraying

    He is obviously a Republican, he knows he's perverting the system, then somehow he's the victim.

    January 23, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  19. Sniffit

    Chicken and the egg. Who's really extorting who? Doesn't really matter: the fact remains that the extortion nexus exists, whichever direction you decide to perceive the extortion as flowing. Amurika is undeniably a plutocracy.

    January 23, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  20. S.B. Stein

    This is the issue. There is too much money in running for political office. Unfortunately, there is little appetite to have only tax payer funded campaigns. Trying to restrict "social welfare" groups from making their own ads is going to be really hard. The Ctizen United decision shows the court doesn't really understand the realm of politics. Their decision is basically making it close to one dollar for one vote; money equals free speech leaving some people with more speech rights than others. That isn't what our founding fathers wanted or intended.

    January 23, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  21. Wake up People!

    We have the best election system money can buy!!

    January 23, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. 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.

    January 23, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The influence of politics and money has become a legal game of extortion, critics say, made all the more insidious because the so-called extortionists are politicians who write the laws and legally manipulate the system for their own gain."

    And the media is just figuring this out? Chalk it up to another thing we the people have been aware of long before the media. Interesting that our MSM is still considered marketable "news" organizations.

    And oh, btw, tom I. I've been voting for a few years shy of a half of a century. So, yeah. I think I have a fairly decent idea of how the game is played.

    January 23, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. Wake up People!

    Tom I. Dude you really need to get a life. You come here daily spewing your venom about the "left", regardless to what the topic is, all the while pretending the right does no wrong.

    Who do you really think you're fooling claiming to be an "independent"??

    January 23, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    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.
    -----------------------------
    You are so far from the facts of life that it's pitiful. The SCOTUS ruled that corporations are people back in the 1970s, and that old decision, that precedence, is what was used to support the arguments in favor of Citizens United.

    January 23, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
1 2