Florida Power and Light Reportedly Used Local News Site to Attack Critics

Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) was found to have used a news site to attack critics and discredit competition.

According to documents viewed by both the Orlando Sentinel and the Miami Herald, FPL has been using a news website called The Capitolist to publish inflammatory articles against critics. 

FPL reportedly used the communications consulting firm Matrix, LLC to select the Capitolist as their platform and paid Capitolist editor Brian Burgess using shell companies controlled by Matrix. 

With the arrangements with the Capitolist, FPL was able to exhert control over the Capitolist’s content discreetly as early as 2018. 

An example of the Capitolist’s work was an article written to slander Senator José Javier Rodríguez who proposed laws on selling cheap solar panels to Floridans, which in turn cuts into FPL’s business. 

“I want you to make his life a living hell … seriously,” FPL’s CEO Eric Silagy wrote in a 2019 email to two of his vice-presidents.

Another article was a hit piece about the Democratic candidate for governor, Andrew Gillum, Ron DeSantis opponent in 2018.

The Capitolist also spun up news stories in FPL’s favor with the intention of appearing “objective” to the public. 

An FPL spokesperson commented in response  “As we stated to the Miami Herald and Orlando Sentinel, we cannot prove the veracity of the documents that have been leaked to reporters. We have seen evidence that some of these documents have been doctored to try to make FPL look bad. We have found absolutely no evidence of illegality or wrongdoing by FPL or its employees.”

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