New Orleans In the Age of Trump, corporate impunity is reaching new extremes around the country, but it has also infected local and state politics as well. Entergy, the giant utility provider in the mid-south states of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, as well as parts of east Texas and of course New Orleans, is rapidly becoming the poster child for such incredible arrogance and worse.
We’ve talked previously of how they were caught red-handed having a company pay actors to become a fake crowd with fake spokespeople in favor of their proposal to build a $211 million natural gas-fired plan in eastern New Orleans, likely for fake increased demand. Their fake news creation garnered them a 6-1 vote in favor by the City Council.
Ok, there was controversy. The head of the New Orleans subsidiary was shuffled to another job for hiring an LA-based company that specializes in these kinds of grass-tips demonstration. As the company’s regulator, the City Council found Entergy culpable. Some council members have raised soft voices suggesting a re-vote.
How does Entergy respond? This is where we get to the impunity. They try to claim they are innocent and don’t have to take responsibility. They announce plans to give $5 million as a “donation,” because they don’t want to call the payment a fine for their flagrant misbehavior. They admit that the City Council is their regulator, but in going total-Trump, they claim that the City Council doesn’t have the right to fine them at all, and that they do not have the power to call for a new vote. Without saying this, Entergy is asserting that it is above the law and accountable to nothing and no one!
Can it get worse? Yes, Entergy can indeed go lower. It now develops that they marshalled nonprofit charities like the Red Cross, the New Orleans Recreation Department, and others that had received similar “donations” from them to write to the Council and sing Entergy’s praises. Most of the directors of these agencies went undercover. The CEO for the local Red Cross, claimed not to realize that the Council was imposing a fine and that their letter was being to used to whitewash Entergy. Whoever believes that, please call me, because I’m offering to sell the Mississippi River bridge very, very cheaply. The Council of Aging, one of the recipients of the companies supposed largesse, testified in favor of the plant construction because it would supposedly benefit the elderly, and was rewarded by an announcement that Entergy was giving them $308,323 two days after they testified. For anyone who believes that was a coincidence, luckily there are other bridges across the Mississippi River, and I’m offering them as a special package as well. Call me, sometime!
This is past ridiculous. The Council has not responded. I hope they are not trying to figure out why they didn’t get donations this large as well?
Here’s the bottom line. Entergy should not be able to claim that monies given to these agencies qualify as charitable deductions against their taxes, when they are so clearly lobbying and business expenses. This ludicrous $5 million “donation” is anything but and should not be allowed by the citizens or the IRS. It is a payoff, plain and simple, if they don’t want it to be called a fine.
The charities should be as ashamed of themselves for being bought and sold as Entergy should be for perpetuating and expanding this scandal. Amazingly, everyone is pointing a finger at someone else and no one is taking responsibility for anything.
Believe it or not, this is now our world.