Who benefits?

Last week week Jon Healy of the Los Angeles Times defended Consumer Watchdog’s shady ways. What he didn’t tell you is that his former colleague and boss Judy Dugan now works for Harvey and friends at Consumer Watchdog where she benefits from their self-serving hypocrisy.

Jon Healy mentions Harvey’s self-serving provision he wrote in to Prop 103, saying:

“Over the last decade, Consumer Watchdog has intervened in numerous proposed rate increases, prevailing in many of them. Jamie Court, the group’s president, said those activities have generated about $2.5 million for the group over the last decade…”

What he doesn’t mention is that according to the Department of Insurance website only Consumer Watchdog is getting intervenor fees during the last four years (2008-2011). The total during this period? $4.85 million. And don’t be fooled by their rhetoric– they aren’t doing this on behalf of the consumer. Consumer Watchdog has no actual consumer members. Who’s benefiting? Harvey Rosenfeld who made nearly half a million dollars in 2008.

Big Bullies

We had so much fun tweaking Harvey Rosenfield and Jamie Court for their record of hypocrisy earlier this week, we can’t resist punking them again.

After all, are there really any bigger bullies in California politics than these two?  And like all bullies, it never hurts for them to feel a little blood on their own lips.

The corporate stock profiteering by the Consumer Education Foundation wasn’t just limited to energy companies.

In 2004, the press regularly quoted Court criticizing Gov. Schwarzenegger for taking political contributions (but it’s not like Court was taking intervenor fees… oh wait… more on that to come).

In fact, this appeared in the Capitol Morning Report on August 26, 2004.

 Arnold’s $350,000 trip to the GOP convention in New York is being paid for in part by the pharmaceutical industry, including Abbot Labs, Amgen and Pfizer.

Yesterday, a group of 20 seniors from California who can’t afford their prescription drugs arrived in Vancouver, Canada on a chartered train dubbed the Rx Express. There the Californians purchased their medications with an average 58% savings compared to American prices. That’s about $2,000 in savings per year for each patient. The seniors are advocating that all Californians have access to bulk discounts for their prescription drugs like Canadians do.

But Arnold has a different idea.

A bevy of bills is now headed for Arnold’s desk that will allow re-importation of medications from Canada and access to bulk purchasing pools for prescription drugs. Arnold has signaled his intent to veto those bills, having pocketed $342,000 in pharmaceutical company campaign contributions in addition to the drug company cash that has paid for Arnold’s own Rx Express to New York.

While Arnold gives his “American Dream Speech” at the Republican convention next week, California seniors will only be able to dream of affordable prescription drugs in America.

-Jamie Court, Arnoldwatch.org Press Release (www.arnoldwatch.org), August 26, 2004 

But according the their official tax forms filed at the Attorney General’s Office, CEF made money trading stocks in pharmaceutical companies just a few years earlier. You can’t have it both ways.

  • In 1999, CEF turned a profit trading Genzyme and Elan stock.
  • As of December 31, 1999, CEF owned stock in Abbott Labs, Amgen, Johnson and Johnson, Merck and Co., Pfizer, and Proctor and Gamble.
  • In 2000, CEF made quick profits in Genzyme, Idec Pharmaceuticals, and Merck and Co.; they also turned profits trading Amgen and Genentech.
  • As of December 31, 2000, CEF owned stock in Abbott Labs, Barr Labs, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, and Proctor and Gamble.
  • In 2001, CEF made quick profits in ALZA Corp. and CVS Corp.; they also traded shares of Johnson and Johnson, Pharmacia, Biogen, and Pfizer.
  • As of December 31, 2001, CEF owned stock in Abbott Labs, Amgen, Barr Labs, Cardinal Health, Johnson and Johnson, Merck and Co., Pfizer, Proctor and Gamble and Schering Plough.

(source: Consumer Education Foundation yearly tax form 990s, 1999-2001)

This was about the same time the Los Angeles Times reported that Rosenfield was paying himself $100k a year from CEF.

Hey Jamie what do you think those 20 seniors would think if they knew what disgusting hypocrites you and Harvey are?

Bullies exposed.

Pigs at the trough. Oink!

At the risk of understatement, Harvey Rosenfield, Jamie Court and the haughty crew at the “Consumer Watchdog” are not only some of California’s most corpulent hypocrites but frankly, they are scam artists.

Much as been written and reported over the years about Harvey and his crew’s hypocrisy and scams.  Our friend Steve Maviglio even launched the excellent http://www.ConsumerWatchdogWatch.com/ to document their follies.

In fact, there’s so much to expose about these bad actors—past and present—we’ll be devoting some time reminding and educating the public about why Harvey and crew aren’t White Knights but rather self-enriching pigs at the trough, exploiting laws to gorge themselves ratepayer dollars.

For today’s installment, we reach back into the past to remind Californians about Harvey’s spectacular hypocrisy.

In the early 2000’s, Harvey’s Consumer Education Foundation was day trading energy stocks in the midst of California’s energy crisis.

While Harvey was criticizing energy companies, CEF was raking in cash.

  • Harvey Rosenfield does not mince words when it comes to attacking the power companies that have profited handsomely under California’s energy deregulation law.

    In various interviews, the consumer activist has derided the firms as “pirates and bullies” and even “crooks” using “blackouts to blackmail the state.

    Documents from 1999, the most recent year available, show that the nonprofit Consumer Education Foundation owns 150 shares of Enron as part of a $4.6-million stock portfolio.
    Los Angeles Times, February 27, 2001

But Harvey’s hypocrisy became even brasher.

  • “I think anybody who ripped off the state ought to be investigated,” said Harvey Rosenfield, head of the consumer group Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.
    -San Francisco Chronicle, July 16, 2001

Oh, and by the way, the Los Angeles Times, reports in the same article Harvey was paid $100k a year by CEF.  So quite literally he was pocketing cash from “energy pirates” to pay for his comfortable beachside lifestyle.

For example, according to CEF’s filings with California Attorney General, CEF bought and sold $69,000 of AES shares in a matter of hours, turned a profit of $2500 in two days in a $54,000 investment in Duke, and made $3,000 in two months investing $32,000 in Enron.

Now who wouldn’t agree that’s just repulsive?

In Case You Missed It: Armstrong and Getty Take On Unreasonable Bill

Today Sacramento’s “Armstrong and Getty” took on a bill that will devastate the state’s economic recovery. AB 1627, authored by Roger Dickinson, prohibits cities and counties from issuing a building permit unless the CA Energy Commission determines the new building or new home will significantly reduce vehicle miles by the people who might make new purchases at retail businesses or who might travel to-and-from their homes.
This is a bad bill for a number of reasons:

• It prohibits local governments from issuing a building permit for a commercial or residential building unless they can prove the new building will reduce the vehicle miles traveled

• It gives the California Energy Commission land use planning authority over local cities and counties. The CED has no expertise or authority in this area.

• It layers on multi-agency requirements before building can start, delaying projects and adding to project start-up costs.

This bill is yet another example of the command-and-control, top-down, overregulation that continues to stymie new job creation in California. It is unnecessary and undermines more reasonable efforts by Senator Steinberg to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California.
Don’t take our word for it, listen to Armstrong and Getty take this measure on here: http://soundcloud.com/amy-thoma/a-g-part-2

(Clip begins at 2:10)
“It’s a nightmare of overregulation. A poster child of what is choking California’s economy.”
“If you open a yogurt shop – you have to get enough business to pay rent, staff, insurance etc., and now I have to be concerned about where the people came from who purchased my yogurt.”
“…I’d have to give a crap about a customer walking in the door and how far they drove to get there?”
“This legislation imposes standards – don’t want to persuade, educate they want to dictate your choices.”
(Armstrong and Getty, 8am hour, 3/19/12)

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