Illinois Power Company Cash Lines "Consumer Group" Coffers

An apparent astroturf group calling for an end to an electricity rate freeze received $10 million for its programs from ComEd, the largest power company in Illinois. An administrative law judge with the Illinois Commerce Commission has ordered an investigation of financial ties between the company and the group Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity (CORE). While ComEd lobbies for a rate hike, CORE has run ads on television and in newspapers warning that if the rate freeze continues Illinois could face power shortages like California's. CORE's ads list as supporters the directors of minority-focused community organizations that have received contributions from ComEd--a black academic achievement group (Black Star) and a Latino neighborhood organization (UNO), in addition to other organizations that receive funds from the company. No mention of ComEd is made in the ads. "It's corporate money trying to hoodwink the public," said Illinois Lieutenant Governor Patrick Quinn.