FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Progress Michigan
Friday, September 28, 2012
Contact: Jessica Tramontana, 517.974.6302, email@example.com
DTE’s senior vice president sits on Truth Squad parent’s board of directors
LANSING — The Michigan Truth Squad has a clear conflict of interest in analyzing television ads about Proposal 3 because it has direct financial and staff ties to the two big utility companies leading the campaign against Proposal 3.
The Michigan Truth Squad is a website that claims to “blow the whistle on false and misleading Michigan political speech.” It’s a project of the Center for Michigan, whose board of directors includes DTE Energy Senior Vice President Paul Hillegonds. The Center for Michigan also runs the news and analysis site Bridge Michigan, which according to its website receives financial support from DTE and Consumers Energy.
According to campaign finance records, DTE and Consumers combined have spent $5,905,221.87 through July 20 to defeat Proposal 3, which would increase Michigan’s renewable energy standard to 25 percent by 2025. In addition, DTE and Consumers have made a combined $5,830,641.63 in in-kind contributions to the opposition campaign, ironically known as “Clean Affordable Renewable Energy for Michigan.”
“The Michigan Truth Squad — as well as the media outlets that report on its findings — should immediately begin disclosing its financial and leadership ties to DTE and Consumers Energy whenever it conducts an analysis on Proposal 3,” said Zack Pohl, executive director of Progress Michigan. “The utility-backed staffers at the Truth Squad claim they are unbiased arbiters, but in reality they’re lining the pockets of their referee uniforms with DTE and Consumers’ cash.”
“Progress Michigan makes no bones about being a progressive-leaning organization,” Pohl said. “The Michigan Truth Squad, meanwhile, claims to be independent when that’s clearly not the case. Michigan citizens deserve accountability and transparency from the people at the Truth Squad who claim to be non-partisan and above the fray.”