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Consumer Watchdog Campaign: Insurance Billionaire Backing Prop 33 Adds $500K As Measure Drops In Polls

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Nov. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The insurance billionaire backing Proposition 33 dropped another $500,000 into the campaign on Wednesday as Prop 33 slips in the polls. Mercury Insurance chairman George Joseph redoubled his campaign's deceptive tactics with new advertisements that again feature testimonials by "supporters' who had financial ties to Mercury Insurance and its chairman George Joseph.

"The insurance executive behind Prop 33 can only win by dirty tricks that deceive voters, because the polls show the more the public learns about Prop 33 the less they like it," said Carmen Balber with Consumer Watchdog. "Two years ago, Californians voted against this insurance company's false promises of discounts. Voters are smart enough to see through the same insurance company's phony paid spokespeople too."

These are among the latest deceptive advertising tricks by the Prop 33 campaign:

  • A half-page ad that ran in the Los Angeles Times on Thursday features State Senator Juan Vargas stating support for Prop 33, yet fails to disclose the $69,100 in campaign contributions that Vargas has received from Joseph and Mercury Insurance. Vargas himself is a former insurance industry executive.See the ad: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/vargasprop33adlat.pdf
  • New Yes on Prop 33 banner ads on news websites feature the face of a voter who is actually an employee of Marketplace Communications, which has been paid over $750,000 so far to run the campaign. Other employees of Marketplace Communications posing as real drivers were featured in paid television advertising without disclosing their identities.
  • Slate mailers going to households all across California this weekend feature a Yes on 33 endorsement from the Peace Officers Research Association of California, which received at least $75,000 for the endorsement. The campaign reports paying the US Postal Service $877,0000, suggesting it may have also paid to mail out the literature for PORAC and other paid slate mailers.

The only public poll on Prop 33, from Pepperdine University and the California Business Roundtable, reported this week that Prop 33 has fallen to 48.8% support, from 54% two weeks ago, and 60% prior to that.

Proposition 33 would allow insurance companies to raise auto insurance rates on good drivers who stop driving for almost any reason, even if they didn't have a car.

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