Today’s Sac Bee story detailing the latest chapter in “Consumer Watchdog’s” never-ending war against Mercury Insurance describes “Consumer Watchdog” as a consumer group. The story never mentions the amazing fact that after all these years, no one knows who is funding “Consumer Watchdog.” Isn’t this, yunno, relevant? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
Take it away, Steve Maviglio. Here’s part of what he wrote last month:
Consumer Watchdog, which hasn’t qualified a ballot initiative since 1988, is using the California electoral process again with a cheap publicity stunt designed to feather its own nest.
The faux consumer group filed an initiative today on health care regulation. Among other things, it undermines the new Health Exchange that Democrats have worked hard on. It also strips the Brown Administration of power by gutting the Department of Managed Health Care (as well as the administration’s appointees to the Exchange). On top of that, it exempts large groups from rate regulation — something that will upset California’s labor unions.
But have no fear, the ballot measure includes provisions to allow intervenor fees — the bread and butter of what keeps Consumer Watchdog afloat (that is, when it’s not shaking down corporations for its pay-to-play efforts). Consumer Watchdog has pocketed millions of dollars from such fees as a result of its last ballot effort, Prop 103.
How can reporters who cover “Consumer Watchdog” not notice the, umm, unusual consistency with which its causes are in complete sync with trial lawyer causes? How can reporters NEVER MENTION the lack of transparency about the group’s funding and origins?
Good questions all. This isn’t like all the enviro stories I whine about, where reporter bias is so obviously a factor. This is just lazy reporting.