Consumer Advocates Call On State Campaign Watchdog to Investigate
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumer Watchdog Campaign today released a video showing that two paid employees of the insurance-backed Prop 33 campaign are posing as "real drivers" in a huge TV ad buy now airing statewide. Consumer Watchdog Campaign called upon the state's political watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission, to investigate the Prop 33 campaign for not disclosing that the two ads feature spokespeople who are paid employees.
"The public has a right to know that the drivers they see in the Prop 33 advertisements are in fact paid employees of the PR firm hired by an insurance billionaire to pass Prop 33," said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog and a leader of the StopProp33.org effort. "Only in a world where you can call paid employees 'volunteers' can an insurance company get away with calling a ballot measure to surcharge drivers a 'discount.' These are fake spokespeople for a phony insurance industry proposal."
Download a copy of the FPPC complaint and documentation here: http://stopthesurcharge.consumerwatchdogcampaign.org/resources/fppccomplaint10-2-12.pdf
State law requires campaign ads for ballot initiatives to disclose on-screen if any spokesperson is paid $5,000 or more for their appearance in the advertisement. In the 2-minute video, the StopProp33.org effort exposes the paid spokespeople and other lies in the Prop 33 advertisements.
Marketplace Communications has received $500,750 from the Prop 33 campaign committee, which has received 99% of its funds from George Joseph, the billionaire chairman of Mercury Insurance Company. Adriana Calderon, featured in one of the videos, is identified on the Marketplace Communications website as an employee. Brandi King, another "real driver" featured in a Yes on 33 campaign ad, is listed on her Facebook page as having worked at Marketplace Communications. The television advertisements airing statewide do not disclose their financial arrangements with Marketplace Communications or the Prop 33 campaign.
Watch the "Consumer Alert" video exposing the deceptive ads here: http://stopthesurcharge.consumerwatchdogcampaign.org/video/consumer-alert-big-lies-behind-insurer-backed-prop-33-tv-ads
Prop 33, which is sponsored by one insurance company billionaire, George Joseph chairman of Mercury Insurance Company, would allow insurance companies to raise car insurance rates on good drivers who have a lapse in their insurance for almost any reason, even if they weren't driving and even if they didn't have a car.
The Californians targeted for higher rates under Proposition 33, even if they stop driving for legitimate reasons, include:
- Graduating students entering the workforce;
- Foreign service workers and veterans;
- People who dropped their coverage while recuperating from a serious illness or injury that kept them off the road;
- Californians who previously used mass-transit; and,
- The long-term unemployed.
The measure would overturn a 24-year-old consumer and civil rights protection that was approved by voters at the ballot in 1988, Proposition 103. That law banned insurance companies from discriminating against drivers by charging them more based on a break in their prior insurance coverage.
For more information on Prop 33 visit www.StopProp33.org.
SOURCE Consumer Watchdog Campaign