Protestors chanting "Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! Cronyism has got to go!" marched during the lunch hour today in front of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Washington, D.C. headquarters.
The marchers were protesting the appearance of General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt in the chamber's day-long conference on job creation, Jobs for America Summit. Immelt, who is chairman of President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, was the event's keynoter.
“We think it’s ludicrous and outrageous that Jeff Immelt should be speaking at a job summit when he is the leading corporate job killer in America,” said Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).“He is willing to hurt the U.S. economy if it will help GE.”
CEI and Freedom Action, a conservative activist group, were the largest presence at the protest.
But a spokesman for the Chamber said Immelt was exactly the right choice to keynote a conference on job creation.“There is no better executive in the country who understands businesses are going to lead the charge to create jobs in America,” said J.P. Fielder, who is the chamber's senior director of communications.
Protestors said they found it ironic that Immelt, whose corporation receives billions of tax dollars annually to support a wide variety of activities ranging from defense programs to green energy projects, would be invited to speak at an event hosted by the chamber, which normally opposes the expansion of government.