Watchdog Group Calls for Campaign Reform

Common Cause says the problem was illustrated last fall when members of the Florida Public Service Commission attended a party thrown by the telephone companies they oversee.

Ben Wilcox of Common Cause says it’s time to bring a halt to the practice.

"That kind of thing erodes the public's confidence in the decision that the PSC makes, when the public hears reports of PSC commissioners partying with phone company executives and other utilities executives, what are they supposed to think when the PSC then turns around and approves the largest local phone rate increase in state history. It's just too cozy of a relationship."

Common Cause says lawmakers should restrict "soft money" campaign contributions, utility-sponsored gifts and events, and how soon former Public Service Commissioners can work for utilities they regulate after leaving office.