As the Sacramento Bee reported yesterday, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer is rightly coming under criticism for helping arrange for a dandy $200,000 chunk of a vitamin antitrust settlement (see Mar. 3) to fall into the lap of the Santa Monica-based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, an activist group known for its attack-dog tactics (such as mailing out pictures of its opponents' houses -- real sweet guys, these are). The Bee article rather misses the point, however, by painting the dispute as mostly partisan. It's true that FTCR has angered Republicans with projects such as "Arnold Watch", but its much more central preoccupation over the years has been to bloody the nose of anyone who crosses the interests of the trial lawyers in California, which can very much include lifelong Democrats. It continues to maintain on its website, for example, an almost hilariously vicious and inaccurate diatribe against Andrew Tobias, the well-known financial commentator who serves as treasurer of the Democratic National Committee (Tobias's sin has been to endorse various no-fault insurance schemes that would cut down on business for injury lawyers). By helping to spray publicly derived moneys at Harvey Rosenfield and his associates, Lockyer is acting in a way consistent with the tone of his entire political career, which since its inception has been noted for its close attention to the interests of the trial bar.
Litigation slush funds: Lockyer funnels cash to Rosenfield's FTCR