The Whistleblower #12
Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights Corporateering
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The Whistleblower

The Whistleblower #12 - Mar 21, 2002

Is deregulation the American way? Senator Jon Kyl (R - Arizona) expressed utter disdain when he spoke against a U.S. Senate effort to require power suppliers to diversify their power resources. Kyl complained that the proposed federal mandate to increase production of electricity from renewable resources would move the United States off the deregulation path. "It's un-American," he declared. Senator Phil Gramm (R--Texas) called the renewable proposal "fascist." Apparently, in Sen. Kyl's and Sen. Gramm's America, the right of energy corporations to operate without scrutiny is more important than the public's right to protect itself and the quality of American life.

Full of Crapo? Debating a proposal to restore regulatory oversight to energy trading, Senator Mike Crapo (R -- Idaho) argued that "it would be very, very dangerous for us to move into a new regulatory system…to regulate (energy trading), in a way that is not necessary… (These are) trades between highly sophisticated individuals." Yes, Senator Crapo, we know how sophisticated they are. The do-gooders at Enron "sophisticated" themselves and the investing public right into bankruptcy, but only after using a "sophisticated" energy trading scheme that nearly ruined the California economy. Senator Crapo ignores the fact that nobody is talking about a new regulatory scheme, just restoring the old one after the unmitigated failure of deregulation. During the mid-1990s, Enron lobbied for and received an exemption from oversight by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Unfortunately, it is rumored that Senator Feinstein (D-California) will weaken her energy trading proposal and undermine the consumer protection that re-regulation should provide.

Note: Both Senators Kyl and Crapo were speaking about amendments to federal energy deregulation legislation, Senate Bill 517. We are urging all voters to contact their US Senators (http://www.senate.gov) and urge them to vote against the energy bill, which would invite further power industry consolidation and more unregulated electricity price gouging.

Throw the book at the bookkeepers. A movement is growing to reign in Andersen, the accounting firm that shredded documents in the wake of the Enron scandal. Last week the U.S. General Services Administration suspended Andersen from contracting with the U.S. Government. New Jersey regulators have moved to suspend Andersen's right to audit casinos in that state. Last week, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights called on the California Board of Accountancy to revoke Andersen's license to practice accountancy in the state, in accordance with state law. While the federal government investigates and prosecutes Andersen, states around the country should review and revoke Andersen's license to practice.

California Public Utilities Commission set to impose $8 billion deregulation tax on residential consumers and small businesses. The Cal. PUC is scheduled to vote today on a plan that would allow big businesses to escape the high costs of long-term energy contracts signed by Gov. Davis last year. PUC Commissioner Carl Wood has proposed to revoke the side deals signed between big businesses and private power companies, but Commissioner Geoff Brown wants to allow these side deals to stick, even though it will unfairly shift an estimated $8 billion in energy charges from industrial consumers to small consumers.

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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization. For over a decade FTCR and its advocates have exposed and challenged injustices that betray the public trust. The Whistleblower newsletter addresses core issues of the corporate and governmental crises of today and blows the whistle on the brewing fiascos of tomorrow. FTCR does not take a position on candidates for any elected office.
For more information about FTCR's work, to DONATE, to join the fight, or to comment, visit our web site at www.consumerwatchdog.org. 310-392-0522 xt.309.
© 2002 FTCR



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