The DNC host committee raised only $24.1 million of the $36.6 million goal it set for hosting the convention. Duke has now written off the line of credit it extended to the host committee, a move that cost Duke's shareholders $6 million in earnings after the company claimed the loss; the balance of the $10 million the company saved in federal taxes on its $1.9 billion in earnings last year by claiming a deduction on its tax return. Campaign contributions aren't ordinarily tax-deductible. Duke's CEO Jim Rogers defended the move:
Rogers has maintained Duke’s financial support was for the good of a city making its star turn before an international audience, and so good for Duke. He has said the company would have also supported a Republican convention.
“At the end of the day we’ll do our best to get our money back,” he said in a January interview. “But if we don’t, it’s just a contribution we’re making I think for the greater good of our community.”The $10 million is not all Duke dumped on the convention. It donated $1.5 million in in-kind expenses to host the convention, and it put $4.1 million in a separate fund to put on parties boosting the city according to the Charlotte Observer. Rogers personally contributed $339,000 for the cause. But there was a quid pro quo by the Obama administration for Duke's generosity, of course:
Duke and Progress Energy each got $200 million in federal stimulus money for smart grid improvements in 2009. Duke’s Cliffside power plant won a $125 million “advanced coal” tax credit from the Department of Energy, and a plant under construction in Indiana got $460 million in federal, state and local incentives.
Duke said it expected no favoritism from the administration, noting it had agreed with Democrats on some issues but sided with Republican positions on others.So Duke got nearly a half billion dollars in government assistance for its $3.3 billion Edwardsport plant. Duke's Indiana ratepayers are paying nearly $2 billion of those costs through a 14.5% rate increase over two years to help pay for the costly overruns associated with construction of the Edwardsport power plant. News reports suggested Duke was eating the balance of the $3.3 billion costs, but we now know taxpayers picked up a half billions dollars of that amount.