FTCR Issues First Edition of "The Whistleblower" Newsletter
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NEWS RELEASE
Feb 14, 2002


CONTACT: Doug Heller - 310-392-0522 x309

FTCR Issues First Edition of "The Whistleblower" Newsletter

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 14, 2002:

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights issued 'The Whistleblower' No. 1 Thursday. The newsletter, which is sent to the organization's internet subscribers, lawmakers and reporters around the country, is subtitled "Exposing Corporate and Government Abuse -- Protecting the Public Trust." To receive a fax copy of the newsletter reporters and consumers should e-mail whistle@consumerwatchdog.org and provide a fax number. The first issue appears below:

The Whistleblower, vol. 1, no. 1, Feb. 14, 2002

Enron is neither the beginning nor the end. Throughout the country and across industries there are corporate and political abuses that betray the public trust. For over a decade the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) and its advocates have exposed and challenged these injustices. FTCR has saved Californians $23 billion through a ground-breaking insurance regulation ballot measure, pioneered the patients rights movement and fought electricity deregulation.

The Whistleblower will address core issues of the corporate and governmental crises of today and blow the whistle on the brewing fiascos of tomorrow. For the tens of thousands of reporters, lawmakers, and consumer readers of FTCR's Bailout Watch (back issues available at http://www.ratepayerrevolt.org/st/), The Whistleblower is the continuation and expansion of that newsletter. Like its predecessor, The Whistleblower will pull no punches.

Daschle's Valentine's Day gift to energy companies.

In a move that's sure to win the hearts of private power companies, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is moving ahead with electricity deregulation bill S.1766. Like a similar House bill (see Bailout Watch No. 89), Daschle's proposed legislation (according to the Congressional summary) "set(s) forth an energy delivery and production scheme that includes...market-based rates...open access transmission," repeals consumer protections against energy monopolies and leaves the anti-regulation, pro-energy industry appointees at FERC as the only backstop for consumers. Just like the California law of 1996, which threw California into the dark in 2001, this proposal is wrapped in environmental and other protections that are unrelated to -- and used to conceal -- the main goal of the bill: create an unregulated national power market. Supporters like Sen. Jeff Bingaman are trying hard not to call it something else: "What we have been trying to do in our legislation is ensure that we have an open, accessible, national transmission system for wholesale power. That is not deregulation, as I see it," said Bingaman, recently. In other words, forget Enron, forget California, because, amidst all the bluster, its just politics as usual, DC (Deregulation Central).

Did Cheney invest in Enron partnerships?

With VP Cheney's relationship to Enron inexplicably shrouded in secrecy, a question to ask is: Were the Veep or President ever investors in any of the dubious Enron partnerships? The Vice President's silence is deafening and this question should be posed.

Jealous insurance companies also want license to steal.

Insurance companies will push for model legislation to strip consumers of legal rights against insurers at the March 1st meeting of the Nat'l Conference of Insurance Legislators (politicians who focus on insurance issues). The plan calls for one-shot oversight: the public only has one shot to uncover company illegalities, and after the insurer gets explicit or implicit approval of a practice from a regulatory agency, the company can't be held liable for any harm to consumers resulting from that practice. This is reminiscent of 1995 legislation in which, at the behest of big corporations and accountants, federal lawmakers weakened safeguards against securities fraud and gave corporate swindlers a "safe harbor" from lawsuits. ------

FTCR is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization. FTCR does not take a position on candidates for any elected office.

CONTACT: Doug Heller of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, 310-392-0522, ext. 309





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