Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) called Wednesday for the ouster of General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt from President Obama's jobs council.

Feingold, citing GE's ability to escape paying taxes on its $14.2 billion profit last year, launched a petition to force Immelt's resignation as chairman of Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

"We cannot stand by and watch while we are led down this road," Feingold said in an email to supporters. "Mr. Immelt must step down from the president's jobs panel — and if he won't, President Obama needs to ask for his resignation."

Obama named Immelt the chairman of his jobs council in January. The panel is one of the top outside economic advisory bodies the administration had empanelled, and Immelt's nomination was broadly seen as an entreaty toward the business community at the time.

"How can someone like Immelt be given the responsibility of heading a jobs creation task force when his company has been creating more jobs overseas while reducing its American workforce?" Feingold asked. "And under Immelt's direction, GE spends hundreds of millions of dollars hiring lawyers and lobbyists to evade taxes."