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How A "Minority Organization" Sold Out -- and Got Caught

The big corporations and the very wealthy are well represented in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
FTCR works hard to protect the interests of those who don't have the money to hire lobbyists or make campaign contributions.

That's why it's particularly outrageous when an organization that claims to represent minority and low-income individuals joins with corporations to oppose consumer protections.

In California, Exhibit A is the "Greenlining Institute," which describes itself as representing minorities and the poor. Its web site says:

"The Greenlining Institute works to ensure that the needs of these communities are addressed proactively and positively in major policy discussions. Together with our diverse coalition, we actively represent these interests with major corporations, educational institutions, special interest associations, and government officials."

In 1998, the Greenlining Institute joined with Enron and California's utility companies to oppose FTCR's ballot initiative Proposition 9, which would have protected Californians against the electricity deregulation rip-off. As noted in FTCR's letter to Greenlining (click here to read letter), this wasn't the first time the organization had betrayed the interests of the people it claimed to represent.

But it was one of the worst.

Public reports showed that the organization had received hundreds of thousands of dollars from utility companies in the preceding years.

After spending $40 million, the energy industry defeated Proposition 9 on the November, 1998, ballot. In a magazine article two weeks later, entitled "The Partnership Between Corporations and the New Majority," (click here to read) activists associated with Greenlining boasted how they helped defeat the measure.

Two years later, as FTCR predicted, electricity deregulation became a license to steal for the utilities and energy industry. The California energy "crisis" of 2001 caused blackouts and skyrocketing utility rates that cost California over $70 billion -- particularly harming low income consumers.

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