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

    That CEO needs to apologize to all of us for his company getting such a big tax subsidies, paying no income tax and then he gets great big bonus bucks while bleeding the rest of us dry at the gas station!

    May 11, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. Dot

    Deocrat Class Warfare – Why in the world are you DEFENDING oil companies??

    May 11, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Try this..."if we don't pay them $4B in middle-class-blood-money, they'll raise prices!!!" Well, jackholes, maybe that's where the "free market" wants the prices to be...and maybe the "free market," if not interfered with by making the middle-class pay blood money to the oil companies, WOULD result in higher prices and maybe that's what it's SUPPOSED TO that the market pressure and economic urgency to find alternative fuel sources and spur innovative inventive new ways to create and use fuels would actually exists instead of being unnaturally hidden and decreased by giving these arsenuggets free profits sucked from middle-class pockets. Is that what makes you so afraid of higher fuel prices GOPers? That people might actually realise that it has a real cost and that we cannot go on indefinitely paying ransom to the oil giant robber barons, beholden to them for our energy needs? That if the market pressures were allowed to exist in their natural state, innnovation and AMERICAN INGENUITY would finally find a way to compete with them? You see, THAT is an accurate use of the concept of "free market" and the GOP's willingness to abandon it when expedient shows just how truthfully they "believe" (as far as nihilists can be said to do such a thing) in their professed ideology.

    May 11, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. Republicans - "The Not Intended To Be Factually Accurate Party"

    This speaks to the arrogance of oil companies. They are use to have "most favored-industry" status in Congress so it's not hard to imagine they thought they could get away with such language.

    Let us not forget Repubican Rep Joe Barton who, when the President was forcing BP to take responsibility for the Deep Water Horizon rupture, called Obama "un-American" and said he should take his boot off the neck of British Petroleum.

    May 11, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "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?"

    What was you thinking? Please, allow me to summarize your "thoughts":

    " "

    See? There's nothing going on there.

    May 11, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. Kwesoe

    These hidden taxbreaks for big companies send the wrong message. They assume that they are successful not because of taxpayers but inspite of taxpayers. Money talks .. and you know the rest.

    May 11, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. Republican Robber Baron

    Yes the Republican Fox News – Facts Don't Matter – and their Robber Baron friends whining about being taxed like everyone else. That's rich. Time to end all these silly tax breaks for uber-wealthy Robber Barons that don't need them.

    We need a flat tax for EVERYONE and EVERY COMPANY. Everybody pays their fair share. Nobody gets to zero-out and use creative accounting or hire an army of lawyers to evade paying their fair share. Enough of the narcissism and selfishness.

    May 11, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. The Greedy Old Parasites have declared class war on America!

    You hit the nail on the head once again, Sniffit. The GOBPbaggers are for "free markets" until their against them. There is nothing rational or consistent about their alleged "principles" which is why they are really nothing but a cult of crazy Friedman/Rand worshippers.

    May 11, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  9. CAWinMD

    Democrat Class Warfare isn't defending oil companies - s/he hasn't once answered your specific question. S/he is just riffing on anti-Democrat themes – those mean old Democrats are wanting to raise taxes again! It's just a shame that s/he is so blind to the actual facts that s/he can't distinguish between a tax increase and a withdrawal of a subsidy to help a technology vital to our national interests. When we started subsidizing oil companies, it made sense and there was a national interest to do so. They have shown they can flourish in the open market without help. Every Republican out there should be trumpeting this as a triumph of market forces, and withdraw the subsidy because it is no longer needed. That is also why we should not withdraw subsidies from solar, wind, etc. - they are still struggling, and I would argue they are just as vital to our national interest. With any luck they will be just as successful as the oil companies, so at some point in time we can withdraw those subsidies as well.

    May 11, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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