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Jan 23, 2001

CONTACT: Harvey Rosenfield - 310-392-0522 x303

Phony "Consumer" Reporter Back On The Air Defending Utilities, $Billion Bailout

-- Utilities Pay David Horowitz to Deceive Public --
David Horowitz, the former "Fight Back" television reporter who took over $136,000 from California utility companies to defend electricity deregulation in 1998 as the "way to cut our electric bills," is back on television. This time, he's backing a consumer bailout of the utilities' deregulation disaster.

In a statewide ad campaign, paid for by Edison Electric Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based utility lobby group, Horowitz urges the public to call their legislators to support bailout legislation to make sure the utility companies don't go bankrupt. California's utility companies are pushing legislators to order ratepayers to pay $10 billion to cover their losses under deregulation.

Horowitz was paid by the utility industry to oppose Prop. 9 on the November, 1998, ballot, which would have lowered residential ratepayers electricity bills more than 20% by prohibiting the forced bailout of the utility companies uneconomic investments as mandated by the 1996 deregulation law.

"Once again, this corporate pitchman is trying to use his former credentials as a TV reporter to mislead the public on behalf of the utility companies," said Harvey Rosenfield, FTCR President and co-author of Prop. 9. "In 1998, 'Fight-Back' Horowitz was financed by utilities to fight for deregulation. Now that deregulation's failed catastrophically, he's fighting for a ratepayer bailout of the utility companies. It's time for the public to fight back against this fraud financed by the utility companies. When you see him on TV, just unplug him."

Horowitz has made a practice -- and apparently a lot of money -- of merchandising his thin credentials to special interests. A list of donors published in a 1996 tax return from Horowitz's "Fight Back Foundation" reads like a who's-who of corporate America. Last summer, Horowitz was revealed to be soliciting money from each side of the internet/cable access debate, the Los Angeles Times reported. Horowitz was said to be looking for the "highest bidder" for his services. It is unknown how much he is being paid by the utility companies for his present appearances.

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