Consumers for Smart Solar is the political committee behind Amendment 1 on Florida’s general election ballot.
Recently audio was leaked of the James Madison Institute (JMI) policy director bragging about how the utility industry is using the amendment to deceive the public into thinking it is a pro-solar initiative.
As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, Consumers for Smart Solar is financed primarily by the state’s largest utilities.
After the Times/Herald reported that JMI’s policy director Sal Nuzzo was recorded saying the amendment was
an incredibly savvy maneuver (that) would completely negate anything they (pro-solar interests) would try to do either legislatively or constitutionally down the road
the Consumers for Smart Solar starting scrubbing all its social media platforms that referenced the James Madison Institute.
Nuzzo also said JMI was asked by the Committee for Smart Solar to conduct research into a rival attempt by solar advocates to end the ban on third-party leasing of solar panels because JMI represented “the adults in the room.” He also described the utility backed constitutional amendment as “political jiu jitsu” used to persuade voters to support restrictions on the expansion of solar by presenting the proposal as a pro-solar initiative.
The admission was made to a conference of conservative groups in Nashville on October 2 and it contradicted the pro-consumer message the utility-financed group had been pushing.
Consumers for Smart Solar spokeswoman Sarah Bascom attempted damage control and denied the group ever coordinated with JMI to provide research to advance their position. JMI President Bob McClure also said Nuzzo “misspoke” while talking to an “unfamiliar, national audience.”
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