Duke CEO, Jim Rogers speaks to the Hood Hargett BreakfastClub
By John Downey
Charlotte Business Journal
Jim Rogers says local fundraising for Charlotte’s share of the costs for the Democratic National Convention is going well, despite strict limits on contributions and the tendency of many Republicans to consider the convention a partisan issue.
This is really something that isn’t about either Republican or Democrat. It’s about Charlotte, the Duke Energy Corp. chief executive told nearly 400 people at the Hood Hargett Breakfast Club last Friday. Later, he quipped he was getting ready before this breakfast breaks up to pass the hat.
But it wasn’t just a joke. That became clear after Rogers finished his remarks and Chuck Hood, owner of the Charlotte insurance company that gives the breakfast club its name, took the microphone to back him up.
I don’t know what Jim’s affiliation is, Hood said. I don’t know what yours is. But regardless, I would call on you to join me in a contribution today to the local (convention) committee.
Rogers is a Democrat, for the record, though he has personally contributed to political candidates of both parties. But he is insistent he is involved with the convention effort because of the benefits to Charlotte. And he hopes other business leaders will adopt the same position.
That has not consistently been the case as yet, he says.
You know there are a lot of Republicans who run businesses here, and they see this as an R’ thing and a D’ thing, he said, answering questions briefly after the breakfast. â€œAnd you just have to keep driving the message home that this is for Charlotte. This is not about the Democrats.
Rogers seldom talks about the fundraising effort in public. And he offered few details. But he says the campaign to raise up to $50 million from contributors across the country is on track.
(Watch Mr. Rogers’ full speech)
We are making progress, he told the breakfast club. â€œThe rules as you know they have been historically ” they are tougher than for the Republican convention. Tougher than for any convention in the history of our country.
Charlotte needs to raise $40 million to $50 million to pay some of the costs of bringing the convention here. But the Democratic National Committee has said no individual can contribute more than $100,000. No money is to be accepted from lobbyists. And businesses are barred from contributing to the 501-c(3) organization that allows individuals to write off their personal contributions for the convention funding.
But a separate organization has been set up to pay for some of the Charlotte host committee’s activities. Business contributions to that fund will be accepted.
We are on the road to reaching our objectives, Rogers told the group. This convention puts a spotlight on our city unlike anything that has happened here.