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Oil Watchdog |  About


Oil Watchdog is a blog and resource library about the profiteering, power, and unscrupulous practices of the oil industry. OilWatchdog is a project of Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing an effective voice for taxpayers and consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics.

At OilWatchdog, our bloggers are looking for the schemes the industry employs to rip-off its customers, harm the environment and hide their misdeeds. We report on connections between the oil companies and the “independent” spokespeople and groups that always promote an industry view. We track the money oil companies move around to maintain political power and just about anything else that helps reveal the greed and arrogance of this industry. We rely on data, experts and instinct. But our project is improved and expanded by our readers, who comment on blogs and articles, other bloggers and reporters who watch this industry from the outside and courageous whistleblowers who know the industry from the inside.

Our Bloggers

Judy Dugan

Judy Dugan is Consumer Watchdog’s Research Director. She concentrates as an advocate on health care reforms, oil industry issues and telecommunications. She also writes and edits foundation publications and conducts media outreach.

A former Deputy Editorial Page Editor for the Los Angeles Times, Dugan was the editor of a Pulitzer Prize-winning series on California government in 2004. She earlier held positions with the Times including Assistant Op-Ed Editor and Voices Editor.

Before joining the Los Angeles Times, Dugan was an editor and reporter for United Press International in Washington D.C. and Chicago from 1977 to 1988.

Dugan was also a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and a small-business owner in North Conway, New Hampshire, but now she’s sticking with California, and Consumer Watchdog.

Jamie Court

Consumer Watchdog’s President is an award-winning and nationally recognized consumer advocate. His latest book, The Progressive’s Guide To Raising Hell: How To Win Grassroots Campaigns, Pass Ballot Box Laws And Get The Change You Voted For, is forthcoming from Chelsea Green in September. Court is co-author of Making A Killing: HMOs and the Threat To Your Health (Common Courage Press, 1999) — which Publisher’s Weekly says is “one of the most powerful indictments of the managed care industry.” (www.makingakilling.org)

Court helped to pioneer the HMO patients’ rights movement in the United States, sponsoring successful laws in California and aiding them elsewhere. He has also led major corporate campaigns to reform insurers, banks, oil companies, utilities and political practices. Court is a regular commentator on National Public Radio’s “Marketplace” program and on the Los Angeles Times op-ed page.

John Simpson

John M. Simpson is a veteran journalist who held top editing positions at international, national and community newspapers. Most recently he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. He was previously deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition.

Simpson taught journalism at Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. Recently he wrote Consumer Watchdog’s report, “Affordability, Accessibility & Accountability in California Stem Cell Research.” His op-ed articles have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News, the Sacramento Bee, and the Wisconsin State Journal.

Simpson holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication.

Doug Heller

Doug Heller is Consumer Watchdog’s Executive Director. Heller advocates on behalf of consumers on a range of issues including insurance, energy and political reform.

Heller has authored numerous reports on issues such as energy deregulation, medical malpractice and insurance industry low-balling.

Heller led the 2001 lobbying effort against a legislative bailout of California electric utilities. Through both advocacy work and community outreach, Heller has been the state’s consumer leader in the effort to implement and expand the nation’s first low-cost auto insurance program for low-income motorists.

Prior to advocacy work, Heller was a Consumer Watchdog organizer, training and managing volunteers. After receiving his B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, Heller spent two years as a public school teacher in rural Louisiana through the Teach for America program.


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