GENERAL ELECTRIC

They also bring bad things to life!


 

Sightings from The Catbird Seat

~ o ~

August 4, 2009

GE Settles Accounting Fraud Charges

In a blow to its reputation as a finance paragon, GE settles SEC fraud claims related to hedge accounting and revenue recognition.

Marie Leone and Tim Reason, CFO.com | US

Some members of the General Electric accounting staff worked hard to figure out ways to hide the negative accounting impacts of transactions booked in 2002 and 2003, according to court documents released by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In fact, the SEC complaint relates several instances of round-robin email discussions among GE accountants, internal auditors, executives, and the company's external auditor, KPMG, debating whether aggressive accounting would past muster with regulators.

Ultimately, it didn't.

Today, after a four-year investigation, GE settled accounting fraud charges with the SEC for allegedly misleading investors with improper hedge accounting and revenue recognition schemes. Specifically, GE was charged with violating accounting rules when it changed its original hedge documentation to avoid recording fluctuations in the fair value of interest rates swaps, which would have dragged down the company's reported earnings-per-share estimates.

In addition, the SEC charged GE with concocting schemes to accelerate the recognition of revenue from its locomotive and aircraft spare parts business, to make the company's financial results appear healthier than they actually were.

Without admitting or denying guilt, GE paid a fine of $50 million, and agreed to remedial action related to internal control enhancements. "GE bent the accounting rules beyond the breaking point," noted Robert Khuzami, director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, in a statement....

The SEC uncovered the violations after conducting "risk-based" investigations at GE, in which the government staffers identify a potential risk in an industry or at a particular company and develop a plan to test whether the problem actually exists. In the case of GE, the SEC identified potential misuse of hedge accounting as a possible risk area.

The SEC filed its complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut pointing out that GE met or exceeded analysts' consensus earnings-per-share expectations every quarter from 1995 through filing of its 2004 annual report. However, the SEC charged that during 2002 and 2003, "high-level GE accounting executives or other finance personnel approved accounting that did not comply with generally accepted accounting principles" in order to hit the EPS estimates....

According to GE, the company produced 2.9 million documents, and spent $200 million over four years in legal and accounting fees, to cooperate with the SEC's probe and conduct its own "comprehensive review" of the problems. In the second quarter of 2007, the company noted in a regulatory filing that it took disciplinary action against employees involved in the locomotive transactions, which included firing workers who "engaged in intentional misconduct."

Despite its sterling reputation for financial management, GE also has long been the subject of charges from critics that its reliable earnings derived not from the natural smoothing effect of its diversified holdings, but its ability to use that complex structure — including financing arm GE Capital Corp — to manage earnings. "We have not used the words 'earnings management,' but we have said GE misapplied accounting rules so it could cast its financial results in a better light," Bergers told CFO....

According to court documents, days before GE's quarterly results were to be released in 2003, the company developed an entirely new approach that, "when applied retroactively to transactions that occurred months before, allowed GE to obtain the desired accounting results." The new approach violated GAAP, asserted the SEC. As a result, GE overstated earnings in the fourth quarter of 2002 by more than 5%, and thereby met its revised consensus EPS estimates, added the SEC in its complaint.

The fact that GE had not missed consensus estimates for the previous eight years "is signficant," Berger told CFO. "The motivation [for the accounting change] was to increase earnings."

In addition to reworking its accounting approach, the SEC charged that GE also improperly used the so-called shortcut accounting treatment for its swaps, which it was ineligible to use....

http://www.cfo.com/article.cfm/14162632


 

April 29, 2004

Ideas Aired at GE Meeting

Shareholder proposals all are defeated

By Robert Schoenberger, The Courier Journal

General Electric has moved thousands of jobs overseas during the past two decades in hopes of reaching new markets and cutting labor costs, and Chief Executive Jeff Immelt is making no apologies.

“We can’t protect all of our employees from economic reality, but we can treat them with compassion,” Immelt said of decisions to make products overseas.

Immelt, speaking at GE’s annual meeting yesterday in Louisville, said Appliance Park is a good example of the company’s attempts to be compassionate as it cuts jobs. The sprawling complex has fewer than 6,000 employees, down from 23,000 in 1973. Immelt said the company offered severance benefits to the vast majority of those who lost jobs.

Opponents of sending jobs overseas said they don’t want severance packages. They want jobs to stay in the country, and they argued that keeping jobs here would benefit GE.

Jean Cooper, a member of the IUE-CWA labor union, said GE’s decision to send work from Arkansas to China cost her her job.

“There are probably very few people here who don’t know someone affected by offshore outsourcing.”

“If American companies are counting on American consumers to buy their products, they have to make sure that Americans have jobs.”...

Lauren Asplen, also a union member, said GE could alienate consumers if it continues to send production overseas. “The American consumer is getting much more sensitive to the impact of outsourcing,” she said.

Immelt disagreed.

In an interview before the annual meeting, the chief executive said companies have steadily moved production overseas for years, and consumers have accepted that change.

“Just go to the store and look for people who pick up a product and try to see where it’s made. It doesn’t happen,” Immelt said. “People want a good product. They don’t care where it’s made.”

The outsourcing study was one of 15 shareholder proposals presented at the meeting at the Kentucky International Convention Center. All 15 failed.

The best performer, getting 23 percent of the vote, was a proposal to limit the number of corporate boards a director of GE can serve on to three for active executives and five for retirees....

Sister Patricia Daly, a New Jersey nun and social activist, said shareholder proposals have become a way to gain audiences with powerful corporations and bring issues to shareholders.

“A proposal may fail, but even 3 percent is a huge win for a first-time issue,” Daly said, referring to a proposal from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to stop some animal testing at GE’s Medical Systems business. That proposal won 3.9 percent of the shares voting, but that amounted to 326 million shares.

“When you start talking about millions of people, these are issues that the board of directors have to pay attention to,” Daly said.

$ $ $

May 13, 2002

WAGES OF SIN

By Christopher H. Schmitt, U.S. News & World Report

SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORT: Why lawbreakers
still win government contracts

In the mid-1970s, Lockheed Aircraft Corp. was center stage in a scorching bribery scandal. Millions in secret payments were slipped to public officials and political parties around the globe, to curry favor and win government contracts.

Stung by the blowback, the company promised stringent reforms. Two decades later, Lockheed was again in the spotlight, pleading guilty to paying off an Egyptian official to win a deal for C-130 cargo planes. Once more, the company was contrite. Standing before a federal judge in 1995, a top executive pledged Lockheed’s “commitment to the highest ethical standards of conduct.”

In the years since, however, Lockheed’s troubles have only grown. The company has been named in at least 33 more cases covering overcharges on government contracts, improper technology transfer to China, falsifying results of nuclear safety tests, job discrimination, environmental pollution, and more.

These cases, some of which were in motion before the 1995 conviction, have produced at least $145.3 million in penalties, settlements, and restitution. And at least 13 more cases are pending.

Lockheed Martin, as the company is known today, says it has a vigorous ethics and compliance program. And, it turns out, says it has a vigorous ethics and compliance program. And, it turns out, that promise is good enough for the Pentagon. Last October, despite the company’s record, the federal government awarded Lockheed the richest military contract in history – a deal to build the nation’s next generation jet. The project, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, could be worth as much as $200 billion over several decades.

Lockheed Martin is not the only big federal contractor that continues to do business with Washington despite repeated contract difficulties and other legal and regulatory trouble. In the past dozen years, 30 of the 43 largest federal contractors have racked up more than 400 enforcement cases, resulting in at least 28 criminal convictions, 286 civil settlements, and 88 administrative settlements, mostly involving their government contracts, according to data from the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit Washington, D.C., group that investigates government activities, and additional research by U.S. News.

The companies have breached environmental, labor, and securities regulations as well, For their difficulties, the analysis shows, they have paid at least $3.4 billion in fines, penalties, and restitution.

Injuries.

The cases cover a wide swath, including price fixing, bogus testing, polluting, overcharging, hiding product defects, violating export laws, and withholding financial data from the government.

They also represent more than accounting quibbles: Company workers have been killed and seriously injured and national security potentially put at risk. Yet, together, these firms have corralled more than 4 of every 10 federal procurement dollars. “If it was a food-stamp recipient, they’d go to jail,” says Rep Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, who complains about repeat offenders.

“If it was a student-loan recipient who wasn’t paying, they’d have their wages garnished. It’s an extraordinary double standard.”

The government actually has a process for cutting off wayward contractors from future work, but in practice, purchasing officers focus on getting projects done, not holding firms accountable for past behavior. And other officials responsible for barring firms can’t legally use punishment as a motive, says Robert Meunier, head of a committee of those officials.

“We’re here to protect the government’s business interest,” he says. Even if a current contractor is prevented from doing future business, the company could continue to do billions of dollars’ worth of government work under existing agreements. As best as can be determined, the government has cut off only one of the 30 big contractors with problems – General Electric Co. – and, even then, suspended the company for just a few days.

If federal agencies wanted to crack down on offending contractors, they couldn’t.

The U.S. government is the biggest shopper on the planet, buying some $235 billion worth of goods and services last year – everything from military hardware to management of nuclear laboratories to food for school lunches. But the reasons of cost, bureaucracy, and plain indifference, it doesn’t keep tabs on the behavior of its vendors. Contracting officers don’t know, for instance, if a company has already agreed with other agencies to clean up its act, and several agencies – including the General Services Administration – can’t even produce a list of whom they have suspended or barred from further contracts.

In effect, contractors have no official history when they line up for government work.

Little guys.

The military tops the government’s buying list – with contracts for $156.5 billion last year. Not surprisingly, some of the worst offenders are military contractors.

But while the government may be reluctant to move against its biggest suppliers, federal agencies don’t have the same qualms about cracking down on small firms. Officials maintain that federal rules are written evenhandedly, but they acknowledge that larger companies can naigate them more successfully.

Take James Verlander, a Houston-area researcher who in early 1990s got tangled up in Operation Lightning Strike, a federal sting operation targeting NASA suppliers. Federal agents drew Verlander and several others into a scheme revolving around a bogus medical device that supposedly could improve monitoring of space-station astronauts.

Threatened with a heavy prison sentence, he pleaded guilty to having accepted $2,000 as part of an effort to win approval and funding for the device, says his attorney, Charles Portz. Barred from government work ever since, Verlander suffered a nervous breakdown and has since become a medical technician.

By contrast, two big contractors that came under scrutiny in the affair – Martin Marietta and General Electric – settled their involvement by paying $1 million to defray the government’s expenses.

“They didn’t want to make arrests of the higher-up people because it would damage the space program,” says Portz, “so they busted a bunch of little people.”

Small fry get nailed more often because it’s more likely that senior executives were involved in any wrongdoing, say those familiar with the issue. And large contractors have more financial juice to make a case go away – to hire pricey legal talent, create compliance programs, or pay settlements.

“They’re pretty willing to settle it to stay in business,” says Jacques Ganaler, former undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, who is now a professor of public affairs at the University of Maryland.

Oversight of military and other federal spending has been kneecapped in recent years – through budget cuts and under the banner of streamlining regulation – and new proposals would weaken it further. Reflecting those developments and changing priorities, federal prosecution of contract fraud has fallen sharply in recent years, as have attempts by federal agencies themselves to rein in abuse, according to government data obtained by the Transactional Records access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

Many expect enforcement efforts to suffer further still as homeland defense comes to the fore. U.S. Department of Justice officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Corporate crime.

Even in extreme situations, the biggest firms don’t face contracting’s version of the death penalty.

Take behemoth General Electric. In the early 1990s, problems including bribery and mispricing became so pervasive that the Pentagon’s Defense Contract Management Agency took the unusual step of setting up a special investigations office just for GE. The office produced 22 criminal indictments of the company, its sub-contractors, and employees, and recovered $221.7 million.

Although individuals were booted from future government work, the company was not, despite recommendations from frustrated investigators. Not barring the firm “is clearly a disincentive to forcing a major contractor to institute [change],” they said at the time.

“Other remedial actions, including criminal prosecutions, did not seem to be effective.”

Since then, GE has been named in new cases, involving both its military and civilian businesses. GE spokesman Gary Sheffer says that the earlier cases involved a small number of people and that the company used the experience to tghten an already strong compliance program....

BIG CONTRACTS - REPEAT OFFENDERS

In the past dozen years, 30 of the federal government’s biggest contractors have accumulated more than 400 enforcement cases, resulting in at least $3.4 billion in penalties, settlements, and restitution.

The top 10 firms:

GENERAL ELECTRIC ... $982.9 million for 63 cases

TRW ... $389.5 million for 17 cases

BOEING ... $358.0 million for 36 cases

LOCKHEED MARTIN ... $231.9 million for 63 cases

UNITED TECHNOLOGIES ... $214.8 million for 18 cases

ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND ... $208.2 million for 8 cases

UNISYS ... $182.2 million for 12 cases

RAYTHEON ... $128.7 million for 24 cases

LITTON * ... $111.5 million for 8 cases

CARGILL ... $102 million for 8 cases

* Acquired by Northrup Grumman

– Full table and report at www.usnews.com

For more on NASA’s “Wages of Sin,” GO TO > > > NASA...and the war on truth

For more on the “Greed at Lockheed,” GO TO > > > Tarnished Wings

* * *

From Corporate Predators, by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman: . . .

Meet ‘Neutron Jack Welch’

He is the chief executive officer of General Electric, the world’s most valuable corporation. Perhaps America’s most ruthless manager, Welch puts profits above human and community concerns. . . .

Enter Thomas O’Boyle. O’Boyle, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and current assistant managing editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, has written a hard-hitting expose titled “At Any Cost: Jack Welch, General Electric and the Pursuit of Profit” (Knopf, 1998), in which he raises the question--”Is profit and return on investment all we should care about?”

To which he answers, “Of course not.” But this simple question, and obvious answer, has shaken the business media out of its complacency....

Over 17 years as CEO, Welch eliminated hundreds of thousands of jobs, bought and sold hundreds of businesses, and shifted the company’s focus from manufacturing to entertainment, O’Boyle reports.

During the same period, the company was caught in a web of scandals including defective refrigerators brought to market, industrial wastes improperly buried, excessive radiation in the workplace, fraud in military contract procurement, and the Kidder, Peabody financial disaster all reported in detail in the book.

O’Boyle writes that to many of the people who worked at General Electric, “the connection between the severity of Welch’s demands and the occurrence of repeated scandal was a clear cause and effect, as transparent as glass.”

GE’s public recklessness is paralleled by a private recklessness that O’Boyle details in a chapter on GE Plastics, the division where Welch started his career.

“Extravagance was a way of life at GE Plastics,” O’Boyle reports. “Like Welch’s Phi Sigma Kappa college fraternity, which threw the wildest parties at the University of Massachusetts, Jack’s boys at Plastics were a wild fraternity.”

According to O’Boyle, one attractive woman who interviewed for a job at GE Plastics in 1973 recalls being asked, “Would you f--- a customer for a million-dollar order?” The woman walked out of the interview. . . .

For years, GE has told us they bring “good things to life.” Now O’Boyle has written a book that presents the dark underside of a premiere criminal recidivist corporation. . . .

For more, GO TO > > > Nests in the Pentagon

* * *

From When Corporations Rule the World, by David C. Korten:

Community versus Corporate Interests

The global community has created a dynamic in which competition among localities has become as real as competition among firms....

Americans need go no farther than the Mexican border to get an idea of what it now takes to be globally competitive. The maquiladoras are assembly plants in the free-trade zone on the Mexican side of the border with the United States. The zone has become a powerful magnet, attracting many U.S. companies, including General Electric, Ford, General Motors, GTE Sylvania, RCA, Westinghouse, and Honeywell, that are seeking low-cost locations in which to produce for the U.S. market.

Growth has been explosive, from 620 maquiladora plants employing 119,550 workers in 1980 to 2,200 factories employing more than 500,000 Mexican workers in 1992. Many feature the most modern high-productivity equipment and technology. Although the productivity of Mexican workers who work in modern plants is comparable to that of U.S. workers, average hourly wages in maquiladora factories are just $1.64, compared with an average manufacturing wage of $16.17 in the United States.

To maintain the kind of conditions transnational corporations prefer, the Mexican government has denied workers the right to form independent labor unions and has held wage increases far below productivity increases....

* * *

February 9, 2003

GE’s Washer/Dryer Sings in Perfect Harmony

The Courier-Journal

GE Consumer Products’ Profile Harmony washer/dryer system will be one of the Best New Products featured in the June issue of Popular Mechanics.

The magazine will highlight innovative products shown at the International Builders’ Show last month in Las Vegas.

GE Consumer Products has its headquarters in Louisville at Appliance Park, which just marked the 50th anniversary of the shipment of its first appliance, a clothes dryer.

The GE Profile Harmony pair, which are not made by GE but are outsourced and made to the company’s specifications, go on sale in June.

* * *

March 21, 2002

From MSNBC - (Note: MSNBC is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC, which is owned by GE):

* * *

Fund manager Gross
lashes out at GE

Criticizes company’s debt load, disclosure to investors

By Gregory Zuckerman and Rachel Emma Silverman, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The bond king is taking on one of the biggest players in the corporate-bond market.

In an unusual public rebuke, Bill Gross, manager of the world’s biggest bond fund, lashed out at General Electric, saying the company is carrying too much debt and isn’t dealing honestly with investors.

BOND INVESTORS, he said, suffered a particularly steep loss in recent days after GE’s financial unit, GE Capital, announced it might sell as much as $50 billion in bonds, only days after investors bought $11 billion of new bonds in the biggest U.S. sale in history.

The slap is notable in part because it marks the first time Mr. Gross, whose $250 billion under management and stellar track record make him the bond world’s Warren Buffett, has so aggressively gone after a blue-chip name.

But it also could cause headaches for GE: In an interview, Mr. Gross said the mutual-fund giant that he heads, Pacific Investment Management, dumped $1 billion in GE commercial paper in recent days. If other companies follow Pimco’s lead — as is sometimes the case — GE’s borrowing costs could go up, hurting its bottom line.

“The corporation’s honesty remains in doubt,” said Mr. Gross, in a report circulated to Pimco investors. He said GE Capital’s foundation is “vulnerable” because it depends on the confidence of investors to keep its financing costs low.

Mr. Gross’s critique helped send shares of GE down almost 3 percent, and added to the recent complaints among some investors that the conglomerate isn’t being forthcoming enough about its balance sheet and how it has been able to boost earnings.

In response to Mr. Gross’s claims, Keith Sherin, GE’s finance chief, said, “We have a world-class business. We think we operate it pretty effectively.”

But Mr. Gross said GE Capital has commercial paper outstanding adding up to three times the size of the company’s lines of credit with its banks — an unusually high ratio that could signify added risk for investors.

“GE Capital is using near-hedge fund leverage” not consistent with the triple-A rated debt of the world’s largest company, Mr. Gross said. . . .

If those rates rise, the engine that is helping to drive GE’s earnings could stall out, Mr. Gross argues.

He said GE “grows earnings not so much by the brilliance of its management,” but by selling debt at cheap rates, and using stock for acquisitions.

“Pimco will not own GE commercial paper in the foreseeable future.” . . .

GE Capital had $127 billion in short-term debt as of March 11, making it the largest issuer in the world of commercial paper, according to a recently released assessment by Moody’s Investors Service.

Pimco has reduced its longer-term GE bond holdings to $50 million of its $250 billion portfolio.

Mr. Gross also counts himself among the analysts who have started to wonder how GE has been able to consistently beat Wall Street’s earnings expectations.

He said John F. Welch Jr., former chief executive of GE, and his successor, Jeffrey Immelt, haven’t been “totally forthcoming in the explanation for why GE has been able to grow earnings by nearly 15 percent per year for the last several decades.”

“I didn’t mean to pick a fight with GE, this is probably the first time I’ve criticized a company,” he said.

– Copyright © 2002 Dow Jones & Company, Inc., All Rights Reserved.

* * *

March 20, 2002

GE to drop fridge line’s second shift

By Joe Ward, The Courier-Journal

A hard-fought battle that united management and labor in an effort to cut costs, save jobs and keep refrigerator production alive at GE’s Appliance Park in Louisville wasn’t enough to prevent the elimination of one manufacturing shift.

General Electric Co. has told employees of the refrigerator operation that it expects to eliminate its second shift, and 360 jobs, in June or July....

Despite a cost-cutting agreement hammered out by GE and leaders of Electronic Workers union Local 761 in 1999, Dunn said, the Louisville refrigerator unit still is in a “high cost position,” will a senior work force of union employees.

“We’re under tremendous cost pressure in the marketplace,” he said, and that “has made it difficult to sell the kind of numbers we need to reduce losses.”

Dunn said in January that the refrigerator line was losing $90 million a year, up from $40 million a year in 1989, when the company committed to building a new line of high-efficiency, 18- and 19-cubic-foot, top-freezer models in Louisville.

At the same time, it moved production of its high-end Artica model to a plant in Celaya, Mexico, operated by its Mexican partner, Mabe. That model is doing very well, he said.

But Dunn said the smaller refrigerators made in Louisville face the fiercest competition – including new pressure from a plant built last year in Monterrey, Mexico, by Korean manufacturer LG Electronics and from another built in 2000 in South Carolina by Chinese appliance maker Haier Group *....

* (Catbird Note: Check out Haier appliances in your local WallMart!)

* * *

February 26, 2002

GE RETIREES CONTINUE PUSH FOR PENSION RAISE

By David McGinty, The Courier-Journal

When John Snyder retired from General Electric Co.’s Appliance Park in 1982, he attended a retirement seminar and was told how well-funded the company’s pension fund was.

“They said GE used the interest (to pay pensions); they never went into the principal,” Snyder recalls. . . .

Now, years into retirement and drawing about $900 a month in pension payments, Snyder has come to view GE’s pension fund as not only well-funded, but TOO well-funded. He believes GE should be paying him more.

He has a lot of company.

A national group of GE retirees, the GE Retirees Justice Fund, has been pressing for several years now to get the company to put an annual cost-of-living adjustment, modeled after the Social Security Administration adjustment, into its pension plan. . . .

Annually, the retirees’ group tries to put before GE shareholders a proposal that would establish the cost-of-living increase. And annually, GE excludes the proposal from its proxy statement on the basis of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ruling that pension matters are part of ordinary business operations.

That has not stopped the group, which attends GE’s annual meetings and raises the issue from the floor, under the guise of a proposal to require GE to nominate two directors for one spot on its board of directors to ensure more independent directors.

The retirees’ efforts have become so familiar that former GE Chairman Jack Welch treated them with a wary jocularity.

He has signed T-shirts for Kevin Mahar, co-chairman of the national retirees’ group, and when Machar rose to speak from the floor at last year’s annual meeting, Welch quipped, “Here we go. Hang on, everybody.”

Beneath the humor, however, is an issue of large dimensions.

There are approximately 195,000 GE retirees, about 16,000 in Kentucky. Their pensions are paid from a trust fund that had, as of the last annual report, assets worth about $49.8 million.

At that time, GE figured its obligations to current and future retirees were about $28.5 million. In other words, the fund has enough money to pay 174 percent of its current and anticipated obligations.

That is very generous funding, James Delaplane, vice president of retirement policy at the American Benefits Council, a trade association for companies concerned with benefit issues, said if a pension fund has assets equal to all its current obligations, “most people regard that as well-funded.”

If the assets are more than 125 percent of current obligations, he said, that is considered “very well-funded.”

In GE’s case, the pension plan has been so well-funded that GE has not contributed to the fund since 1987....

GE’s top officers do not want to dip deeper into the pension fund, Mahar said, because they can report some of the overfunding as earnings, which boosts the company’s financial performance and, consequently, executive pay that is tied to performance.

“There’s something wrong with that picture,” Mahar said....

A measure of how serious GE retirees are about getting pension increases may come from Jeffrey Immelt, Welsh’s successor as chairman of GE. Immelt’s father is a retiree.

When he was named chairman and chief executive, Immelt said in a recent interview with Business Week magazine, the first call he made was to his father.

“He said congratulations. And he said, ‘Now you can do something about the pension’.”

* * *

AND SPEAKING OF PENSIONS . . .

Many of us have heard about ENRON’S employees who lost millions in their 401k pension plan....

But are you still in the dark about...

 WHO OWNS ENRON?

As of Sept 30, 2001, the top institutional holders of Enron shares were:

#1 - Alliance Capital Mgmt with 42,939,048 shares; followed closely by #2 - Janus Capital Mgmt with 41,361,200 shares; #3 - Putnam Investment Mgmt (Marsh & McLennan) with 23,122,100 shares; #4 - Barclays Global Investors (Committee of 300) with 23,047,196 shares; and #5 - Fidelity Mgmt & Research with 20,790,452 shares.

The remaining of the top 15 investors included: Smith Barney; State St. Global Advisors; Aim Mgmt; Vanguard Group; Morgan Stanley; Northern Trust; Deutsche Bankers Trust; Massachusetts Financial Service; Presdner Rcm; CS First Boston Investment....

* * *

And WHO owns...
ALLIANCE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT?

As of Sept 30, 2001, the top institutional holders were:

#1 - General Electric Co.; #2 - Citigroup; #3 - Pfizer; #4 - Tyco Int’l; #5 - AOL-Time Warner; #6 - Microsoft; #7 - MBNA Corp; #8 - American International Group; #9 - Kohl’s Corp; #10 - AT&T Wireless; #11 - Banc of America; #12 - The Home Depot; #13 - Comcast Corp; #14 - Liberty Media Corp; #15 - Schering Plough.

* * *

And to complete the incestuous circle...
WHO owns GE?

As of December 31, 2001, the top institutional holders were:

#1 - U.K.’s Barclays Global Investors (Committee of 300); #2 - Fidelity Mgmt & Research; #3 - State Street Global Advisors; #4 - Alliance Capital Mgmt; #5 - Vanguard Group; #6 - J.P. Morgan Fleming Asset Mgmt; #7 - Wells Fargo Bank; #8 - Teachers Insurance & Annuity; #9 - GE Asset Mgmt; #10 - Deutsche Bankers Trust; #11 - Putnam Investment Mgmt (Marsh & McLennan); #12 - Northern Trust Co.; #13 - Janus Capital Mgmt.; #14 - Banc of America; #15 - Smith Barney Asset Mgmt.


 

 

FOR A CLOSER LOOK AT SOME OF THESE HIGH FLYING VULTURES AND THE NESTS WHERE THEY HATCH THEIR ELEPHANT-SIZE FINANCIAL SCHEMES, JUST LET YOUR MOUSE SCAMPER BELOW!

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Jack Welch - Retired CEO of General Electric.

From AFL-CIO Executive Pay Watch: . . .

The Pay - 1999 Compensation: $45.7 million. Stock Option Grants: $46.9 million. Stock Option Exercises: $48.5 million. Unexercised Stock Options: $436.4 million.

Last year, CEO Jack Welch took home more in compensation and stock option exercises than the combined wages of 15,000 Maquiladora factory workers. Of course, GE also operates factories in such countries as China and India, where workers are paid even less than in Mexico.

The Performance - Since 1986, Welch has cut GE’s domestic work force by nearly 50% while nearly doubling the number of workers employed abroad. Today, barely half of GE’s workers are in the U.S.

“Ideally, you’d have every plant you own on a barge, to move with currencies and changes in the economy,” Welch said when asked to describe his business philosophy during an interview on CNN.

In his annual pep talk to GE’s management, Welch stresses the need to globalize production to remain competitive:squeeze the lemon is one of his favorite phrases.

The company has sponsored what it calls “supplier migration” conferences to pressure its business partners with U.S. operations to move to Mexico: “This is not a seminar just to provide information. We expect you to move and move quickly,” the company has said....

* * *

April 25, 2002

Editor Quits Harvard Business Review

The Courier-Journal

The Harvard Business Review editor embroiled in a controversy over her relationship with former General Electric chief Jack Welch quit yesterday, saying the situation was too distracting.

Suzy Wetlaufer, announced that she was stepping down as editor but would stay on as editor-at-large and keep an office.

But yesterday, she stepped down from that job too.


 

Joseph I. Lieberman - U. S. Senator from Connecticut - Al Gore’s Vice-Presidential running mate in 2000.

From The Center for Responsive Politics:

1999-2000 - Total Campaign Funds Received: $3,413,893

1999-2000 - Total Spent: $1,193,493

Cash on Hand - $3,438,914

TOP 20 CONTRIBUTORS

1 - Citigroup

2 - United Technologies Corp

3 - Hartford Financial Services

4 - Pfizer Inc

5 - WPP Group

6 - Aetna Inc

7 - American International Group

8 - Northeast Utilities Service Co.

9 - Richman Group

10 - MacAndrews & Forbes

11 - National Jewish Democratic Council

12 - Purdue Frederick Co.

13 - Apollo Management

14 - General Electric

15 - Microsoft Corp

16 - National Westminster Bank

17 - Verizon Communications

18 - Blue Cross/Blue Shield

19 - Free Cuba PAC

20 - General Dynamics


 

Miller & Chevalier - A Washington, DC-based nest of Lawyers and Lobbyists.

From their web-site, 8/1/00: . . .In 1920, Robert Miller and Stuart Chevalier founded Miller & Chevalier as the nation’s first law firm specializing in tax matters. Mr. Miller had served as Solicitor and Mr. Chevalier as Asst Solicitor of the Internal Revenue Service shortly after the first federal income tax laws were enacted....

Like our firm’s founders, many of our tax lawyers have worked in federal government service....

Our firm’s tax practice is diverse, responding to the increasing complexity of the international tax system and the need for Washington representation to deal effectively with important tax policy issues. We serve clients in numerous industries: ... aerospace, automobile, banking and finance, natural resources and energy, chemicals, electronics, pharmaceutical, retail, and health care insurance....

Our firm represents over half of the Fortune 50 companies. We also work with foreign-owned companies of similar size....

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Taxation - Representative Engagements

Amoco Corp v. Commissioner (a.k.a. US Taxpayers) . . . The U.S. Court of Appeals ... held that Amoco was entitled to foreign tax credits for Egyptian income taxes paid on its behalf by the Egyptian National Oil Co . . . The amount of the asserted deficiency was over $450 million....

Atlantic Richfield Co v. Commissioner (a.k.a. US Taxpayers) . . . This case involves over 200 issues and a deficiency in excess of $700 million. Some of the issues involve hedging, tax accounting, foreign source income, and capitalization questions....

B.F. Goodrich v. United States (a.k.a. US Taxpayers) . . . This case involved whether interest expenses incurred on corporate owned life insurance were deductible. The taxpayer sought a refund of approximately $2.5 million. The case was settled....

The Boeing Co v. United States (a.k.a. US Taxpayers) . . . This case involves the allocation and apportionment of research and development expenses for purposes of computing combined taxable income for DISC/FSC purposes. The taxpayer is seeking a refund of over $450 million. The District Court granted Boeing’s motion for summary judgment; the govt’s appeal to the Ninth Circuit is pending....

Cheng v. Commissioner and Pen v. Commissioner . . . The issue in these companion cases was whether commissions earned as compensation for the performance of personal services in Taiwan were taxable as income effectively connected to a U.S. trade or business. The total amount at issue exceeded $40 million in deficiencies, penalties, and interest. The government conceded.... (Those must have been some personal services! I wonder what kind?)

Exxon Corp v. Commissioner (a.k.a. US Taxpayers) . . . The Tax Court held that the Commissioner’s proposed allocation of over $6.5 billion in income was precluded under Code sections 61 and 482 due to a foreign legal restriction....

General Electric Co v. Commissioner (a.k.a. US Taxpayers) . . . This case involved whether the taxpayer properly elected ... to deduct currently approximately $118 million in research and development expenses.

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In addition to their legal services, Miller & Chevalier declared lobbying income of $1.4 million in 1998, with total lobbying expenditures of $320,000 (all to the lobbying firm of Akin, Gump).

Among Miller & Chevalier’s lobbying clients: Assn of Financial Service Holding Cos; Atlantic Richfield; Blue Cross/Blue Shield; Boeing Co; Boston Edison; Chevy Chase Bank; Gallo Winery; Monsanto Co; Nuclear Fuel Services; and the Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores.

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For more, GO TO > > > Birds in the Lobby; Dirty Money, Dirty Politics and Bishop Estate


 

Suharto - Former ‘dictator’ of Indonesia.

From Corp Watch, 5/29/98, Repression, Inc. - The Assault on Human Rights . . . Statement of Allan Nairn Before House Briefing on the IMF and Indonesia:

For 33 years a Suharto/Armed Forces (ABRI) regime built on “the underlying threat of force” ... made it possible for foreign companies to grow rich on Indonesia’s vast resources and labor.

But now that unjust arrangement is facing a historic challenge from below. Popular protest has ousted Suharto and though the ABRI police state remains, its leaders fear that they have not seen the last of Indonesia’s new freedom movement.

The question for foreign firms and powers is: on which side do they stand? . . .

The current policy of the US Executive Branch and of the IMF is to continue the old system in a new guise – with one key exception. While reluctant to back freedom for workers and dissidents, they aggressively push it for foreign investors.

The US continues to back ABRI with weapons, spare parts and ammunition as well as intelligence support .... But they and the IMF do want to make a change in the old regime: to move it from so-called crony capitalism dominated by the Suharto family, to a corporate version dominated by the global markets, by multinational firms and the strictures of the World Trade Organization.

There is some irony in this, since the roster of de facto Suharto cronies includes many of the largest multinationals in the world.

The companies in business with the Suharto family include Morgan Stanley, Lucent Technologies, General Dynamics, Motorola, Mitsubishi, Dupont, BP, Hughes Siemens, Hyatt, Hundai, Edison Mission Energy, General Electric, Westinghouse, NEC, and Rolls Royce, to name a few, along with Merrill Lynch which is in business with Suharto’s notorious son-in-law General Prabowo.

Freeport McMoRan and Textron are in business with the ABRI (Freeport recently built a $35 million garrison for ABRI troops in West Papua, and Textron licenses the manufacture of Bell Helicopters for ABRI by the state aerospace firm, IPTN, controlled for years by current President Habible).

Caltex, Shell, Phillips Petroleum, USX, and Mobile have illegally drilled for oil in the Timor Gap. ATT and Texaco have lobbied behind the scenes for the regime.

For more on BIG OIL and drilling America’s Arctic National Refuse, GO TO > > > Heavens and Earth* * *

From wsws.org: Growing Demands for the Seizure of Suharto’s Empire, by Mike Head, 6/5/98: . . .

Suharto and his family accumulated extraordinary riches while millions of Indonesian workers and peasants were subjected to grinding poverty at the hands of the military dictatorship and its international backers.

Earlier this year, the US business magazine Fortune assessed the family’s total personal wealth at $US40 billion ...

Formally barred from having direct business interests himself, Suharto entrusted his commercial affairs to his late wife Tien (nicknamed “Madam 10 percent” because of the cuts she obtained from government contracts), his six children, half-brother Probosutedjo and cousin Sudwikatmono.

Together, they created a sprawling array of businesses, including toll roads, satellite communications, broadcasting, vehicle plants, electricity projects, water supply utilities, domestic airlines, plantations, taxi services and trading ventures. The also formed joint ventures with the armed forces and giant ethnic Chinese groups such as Salim and Barito Pacific.

Various members of the family own luxurious mansions, ranches and other properties around the globe, including in Britain, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Germany, Singapore and Australia.

Their lifestyles were a world apart from the landless peasants and slum dwellers as well as the industrial workers, paid the equivalent of less that $US3 dollars a day ... The economic meltdown and the demands of the International Monetary Fund mean that unemployment, homelessness and hunger confront millions in both the cities and the countryside....

Interlocking Interests

Popular sentiment seemed to be summed up by one student ... Referring to three of Suharto’s children, he told one reporter: “There should be a public trial of Tommy, Tutukt and Bambang. They’ve got rich and we got poor and now we Indonesians have to face crisis and pay for their loot.”...

There is no prospect that the Habibie-led regime or any alternative capitalist government will do anything else but safeguard the key business interests tied up in the Suharto network, whatever cosmetic measures may be taken against individual members of the Suharto family.

In the first place, all of the leading figures in the Habibie cabinet and the military, including Habibie, Wiranto and economics minister Ginandjar Kartasasmita, have personal fortunes closely interlocked with those of the Suharto group....

Whether under Suharto or his predecessor Sukarno, the ruling elite has rested on the same underlying system of state-sponsored and military-related financial and business dealings....

Moreover, Suharto’s military junta was installed with the backing and direct assistance of the United States and other imperialist powers.

For years it served their requirements for ready access to Indonesia’s vast natural wealth and reserves of cheap labour....

For more, GO TO > > > Sukamto Sia: The Indonesian Connection


 

Technology Strategies and Alliances - Another nest of lobbyists.

From The Buying of the President: . . .

Defense Dollars and Deal Making

In Feb of 1995, the administration announced that for the first time it would consider the financial state of U.S. defense contractors when negotiating overseas arms sales. The administration has also pushed to relax export restrictions on high-tech equipment used to manufacture sophisticated weapons systems.

Part of what has ingratiated the Clinton administration to weapons manufacturers has been the presence of William J. Perry, first as Deputy Secretary and later as Secretary of Defense.

Perry is a former defense consultant who headed Technology Strategies and Alliances (TSA) between 1985 and 1993. TSA’s 1994 clients included Boeing, Grumman, Lockheed, Martin Marietta, McDonnell Douglas, Northrop, Textron, Texas Instruments, TRW, Westinghouse, and 20 other defense contractors.

While Perry severed his ties with the company, he had amassed more than a million dollars in consulting fees from TSA’s clients. Not long after he joined the Defense Department, Perry began going to bat for the industry.

One of Deputy Defense Secretary Perry’s extra base hits came when he and then-Defense Undersecretary for Acquisitions and Technology John Deutch quietly agreed to provide U.S. defense contractors with taxpayer-finance subsidies for mergers and acquisitions. That was a dramatic shift in Pentagon policy. Usually, such issues are taken before Congress.

Instead, Deutch, in a July 21, 1993 memo, reversed the Pentagon’s ban on the subsidies and underwrote $270 million worth of TSA client Martin Marietta’s acquisition of General Electric’s Aerospace Division.

Just seven weeks earlier, on June 3, 1993, industry CEOs, including Martin Marietta’s Norman Augustine, had sent a letter to Perry and Deutch asking for DOD funding of “restructuring costs” for mergers and acquisitions. Perry also approved Northrop’s $2.1 billion acquisition of Grumman. Both were TSA clients. The Pentagon called the policy shift a “clarification” that did not require congressional consent. . . .

The policy shift required both Perry and Deutch to seek ethics waivers from rules that call for a one-year “cooling off” period before Pentagon officials can deal with former clients. They got them from then-Defense Secretary Les Aspin, whom Perry replaced in February 1994.

Paul Kaminski got an ethics waiver in November of 1994, when he was named to head the Pentagon’s Acquisitions and Technology Department, replacing Deutch.

Deutch remained in the Pentagon loop a while longer and became Deputy Secretary of Defense before moving to the CIA.

Kaminski, who worked at TSA, is responsible for awarding $43 BILLION in defense programs to Pentagon contractors.

The Kaminski appointment marked the first time former defense industry consultants filled the Pentagon’s top three policy posts....

For much more, GO TO > > > The Lobbyists; Nests in the Pentagon


 

The Media - What we depend upon to obtain 99.9% of our knowledge of current events.

From Derailing Democracy: . . .

It has been almost 40 years since President Eisenhower, in his final address to the nation before leaving office in 1961, issued a rather extraordinary warning to the American people that the country “must guard against unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Following the same course that virtually every other major industry has in the last two decades, a relentless series of mergers and corporate takeovers has consolidated control of the media into the hands of a few corporate behemoths.

The result has been that an increasingly agenda has been sold to the American people by a massive, multi-tentacled media machine that has become, for all intents and purposes, a propaganda organ of the state. . . .

And it is certainly true that by all outward appearances the United States does appear to have the very epitome of a free press. . . . Yet behind this picture of plurality there are clear warning signs that an increasingly incestuous relationship exists between the media titans and the corporate military powers that Eisenhower so feared.

For example, the number-one purveyor of broadcast news in this country— NBC, with both MSNBC and CNBC under its wing, as well as NBC news and a variety of “news magazines”-- is now owned and controlled by General Electric, one of the nation’s largest defense contractors.

Is it not significant that as GE’s various media subsidiaries predictably lined up to cheerlead the use of U.S. military force in Kosovo, it was at the same time posting substantial profits from the sale of the high tech tools of modern warfare it so shamelessly glorifies?...

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“You know the one thing that is wrong with this country? Everyone gets a chance to have their fair say.”

President William J. Clinton

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“The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.”

Former CIA Director William Colby

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For more on THE MEDIA, GO TO > > > Parrots in the News Room

For more on THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, GO TO > > > Nests in the Pentagon


 

FOR MORE WELL-CONNECTED NESTS, FLY TO...

AIG: THE AMERICAN IDOL OF GREED

ALLIED WORLD ASSURANCE

ALOHA, HARKEN ENERGY!

APOLLO ADVISORS

A SIMPLE SOLUTION TO CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM

BIRDS IN THE LOBBY

THE CARLYLE GROUP: BIRDS THAT DRINK FROM CESSPOOLS

CROUCHING DRAGONS ~ HIDDEN RATS

THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

DIRTY GOLD IN GOLDMAN SACHS

DIRTY MONEY, DIRTY POLITICS & BISHOP ESTATE

GOING POSTAL AT CONSIGNIA

MARSH & McLENNAN: THE MARSH BIRDS

NASA AND THE WAR ON TRUTH

NESTS IN THE PENTAGON

PREDATORS IN PARADISE

SONGS OF THE DRUG VULTURES

THE EAGLE AWAKES

THE INDONESIAN CONNECTION

THE NUCLEAR NESTS

THE NESTS OF OSAMA BIN LADEN

THE SEC: GARBAGE IN...GARBAGE OUT

THE SINKING OF THE EHIME MARU

THE TORCH OF ERIC SHINE

VULTURE NESTS ON WALL STREET

VULTURES OF THE SANDWICH ISLES

WHO’S GUARDING THE HEN HOUSE?

YAKUZA DOODLE DANDIES

YEAR OF THE DRAGON

 


 

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Originally posted February 26, 2002

Last updated August 9, 2009 by The Catbird

 

 

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CHRONOLOGY

February 26, 2002: Originally posted on www.the-catbird-seat.net

March 13, 2007: Judge David Ezra signs Order to shut down website

August 9, 2009: Latest update on www.kycbs.net

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