AG’s office secretly taped conversation with reporter on Mercury initiative

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I can’t believe this! Two days ago, I told you about how Attorney General Jerry Brown rewrote the official summary of a ballot measure sponsored by Mercury Insurance Company to omit the fact that it will raise auto insurance premiums. This morning The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Brown’s spokesman secretly taped a conversation with reporter Carla Marinucci in an effort to keep a story about Brown’s action out of the newspaper.

Taping phone conversations without consent is a crime in California, but who is going to prosecute the spokesman for the state’s top cop?

I wasn’t on that call, of course, but I do know this: Marinucci’s article was taken off the Chronicle’s website early Wednesday evening, and during that time, she called us to get our response to the AG’s claims. Today’s Chronicle story shows top Brown staff were trying to censor the story by going over the reporter’s head.

Since when does the Attorney General of California try to censor the free press in order to kill a news article about how he took the extraordinary step of rewriting a ballot title about a donor’s initiative?

Jerry Brown needs to immediately make amends by firing his spokesperson and appointing an independent counsel to rewrite the title and summary of the Mercury initiative in an impartial manner.

This is the kind of thing Mercury Insurance does when it tries to get its hands in politicians’ pockets — corrupts the democratic process. When Senate leader Don Perata took a contribution from Mercury and carried the same Mercury legislation, he was investigated by the FBI. After Gray Davis signed it, he took $175,000 in Mercury campaign money, and that helped fuel his recall.

A court invalidated the Mercury legislation for surcharging the previously uninsured in violation of Proposition 103. Brown’s decision to ignore the Court’s finding, in order to rewrite Mercury’s title and summary, got him into this mess.

When will politicians ever learn that Mercury is poison?

We are filing another public records act request today to get transcripts of the taped phone conversations. Stay tuned…

If you want to learn more about Mercury Insurance and read transcripts of FBI recordings in which convicted State Senator Alan Robbins and convicted insurance lobbyist Clay Jackson describe Mercury’s Chairman George Joseph as an angel, click here.

Consumer Watchdog
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