Correction

Earlier I wrote that Enron was paying for the anti-Davis ads. Articles I found point to Reliant Energy more than Enron. The problem is that the group placing the ads, American Taxpayer Alliance, has been allowed to conceal their donors.

From Organized Labor: (scroll down to “Hard Hat Rally”)

The American Taxpayer Alliance is paying for the ads with money from energy companies like Reliant, and money raised by Enron lobbyists. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Reliant Energy of Houston, the largest independent generator of electricity, reported earnings in the first quarter of 2001 that were double those for the first quarter of the previous year, (4/17/01). Two of the directors of Reliant Energy, James Baker and Steve Letbetter have strong ties to the Bush White House. Looking at the Enron Corporation of Houston, we find that revenue increased by 500% over the three-year period from 1997 to 2000, from $20.3 billion to $100.8 billion. Even more interesting, Enron CEO, Kenneth Lay, energy advisor to the Bush administration, made $27.2 million through insider trading of Enron stock in the 12-month period ending April 2001. Not bad for a years work, and this is only his bonus money.

From the Davis Campaign:

DAVIS WINS INJUNCTION AGAINST AMERICAN TAXPAYERS ALLIANCE

California Superior Court Judge David Garcia granted an injunction requested by the Governor Gray Davis Committee requiring the American Taxpayers Alliance, which had been airing anti-Davis television commercials, to abide by the State’s Political Reform Act by registering as a political committee with the Secretary of State and filing a list of its contributors. “California law – and basic fairness – demand that organizations making campaign attacks identify themselves so the voters can evaluate the message against those who are funding it,” said Joseph Remcho, the attorney representing the Governor’s political committee. “It is gratifying that Judge Garcia agreed such groups must tell California voters who their donors are. They can say whatever they want, but they have to play by California’s rules.”

Based in Washington, D.C., the American Taxpayers Alliance is a tax-exempt entity headed by former Republican National Committee executive director Scott Reed. The group adamantly has refused to reveal who paid for the media campaign, although Time magazine reported in June that Reliant Energy Inc., one of the Houston-based energy suppliers Davis has accused of gouging consumers, is one of its major contributors. A July analysis by the D.C.-based Center for Responsive Politics also said the group’s prime donors were from the oil and gas industry.

Democratic Underground:

American Taxpayers Alliance – NEW! Weeks on chart: 1 – The American Taxpayers Alliance started running a TV ad in California last week attacking Governor Gray Davis for failing to protect the public from rising energy costs. The campaign-style ad doesn’t promote a rival candidate, but features fuzzy, unflattering close-ups of Davis while assailing his record. So who are the American Taxpayers Alliance? Surely they’re a group of concerned citizens who are worried about spiraling energy prices in California, right? Um, wrong. The “American Taxpayers Alliance” is actually a front group for hundreds of corporations, including Texas-based Reliant Energy. Reliant Energy are proud to list James “rent-a-hatchet” Baker and Bush fundraiser Steve Ledbetter on their board of directors. So, Californians – energy companies are selling electricity to you at vastly over-inflated prices, then spending the profits on TV ads attacking your governor for failing to stop them. How do you feel?

And the whole story at CorpWatch.