Shopper Watchdog: California Commissioner’s Calendar Suggests He Made Contact in ‘Pay to Play’

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Calendar entries and paperwork present that California Insurance coverage Commissioner Ricardo Lara, not his fundraiser, made first contact with an agent of a staff’ compensation insurance coverage firm providing political assist along side in search of approval for a change of management within the firm, in line with Shopper Watchdog.

The Santa Monica, Calif., primarily based group requested Lara’s calendar and different paperwork after it was found he took marketing campaign contributions from the insurance coverage business regardless of his pledge not to take action.

Lara has since apologized for accepting these contributions. He mentioned he terminated his contractual relationship with the fundraising personnel concerned, and that although no legal guidelines or guidelines have been damaged, “I need to maintain myself to a better commonplace.”

The calendar and data, which was requested underneath the Public Information Act, seem incomplete and counsel Lara isn’t being absolutely forthcoming about his conferences, in line with Shopper Watchdog.

California Insurance coverage Commissioner Ricardo Lara

“For instance, the one electronic mail produced from Lara himself is one despatched to Shopper Watchdog’s president,” a launch from Shopper Watchdog states. “Lara didn’t produce his texts, however a cellphone file from a Division official consists of Lara’s response approving a key assembly with principals within the scandal. Shopper Watchdog requested the Division to offer a privilege log of all of the calendar entries and paperwork withheld to evaluate a possible Public Information Act problem.”

Spokespersons for the California Division of Insurance coverage have been contacted for remark.

A San Diego Union Tribune article out on Thursday stories that Eric Serna, a New Mexico lobbyist who greater than a decade in the past resigned in shame as that state’s most senior insurance coverage regulator, was additionally in conferences with Lara and insurance coverage executives.

A type of conferences included the proposed purchaser and vendor of Utilized Underwriters.

The pending sale of Utilized, a staff’ compensation insurer owned by Berkshire Hathaway, which has been the topic of dozens of complaints to the CDI, requires the approval of the California insurance coverage commissioner.

Lara has acquired $54,300 in marketing campaign donations for his 2022 reelection marketing campaign from individuals linked to 2 insurance coverage corporations, Utilized Underwriters and Independence Holding Co.

A Sacramento Bee story out on Thursday particulars conferences Lara had with Steve Menzies, the CEO of Utilized Underwriters.

Menzies is known as in a writ of administrative mandamus was filed final month in San Francisco Superior Court docket by Oceanside Laundry LLC and RDR Builders Inc. in search of judicial overview of the Lara’s actions in two instances wherein the businesses declare he violated their rights.

The writ is a part of an effort to overturn selections by California Insurance coverage Commissioner Ricardo Lara in instances involving Utilized Underwriters, alleging the selections by Lara have been swayed by contributions to his marketing campaign from individuals affiliated with Utilized.

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