In 2020 the California Department of Insurance and Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara had a series of ex parte communications with a couple of former California legislators who were lobbying on behalf of Allied Underwriters.
Lara and staff member, Bryan Henley met with Fabian Nunez and Rusty Areias who represented Allied while the California Department of Insurance was considering a merger involving Allied.
The commissioner hid the fact he met with the two lobbyist ex-legislators. That led to lawsuits from Consumer Watchdog to get a record of what had transpired at that meeting.
Later — and some say in an attempt to hide what had been done — Commissioner Lara and staff looked at enacting a policy where all emails would be deleted from the server after 180 days. Critical and legally important emails would be kept.
That push was stopped via a series of lawsuits.
What all of this came down to is damage to the credibility of the neutrality of the California Department of Insurance. To fix the damages, the Assembly Judiciary Committee has passed a bill onto the Assembly that would prohibit ex parte communications between the commissioner and his staff and ex-legislators and other parties unless those communications are posted on the department website.
The bill — AB 2370 — was authored by Marin County Democrat Marc Levine.
“It is absolutely bonkers that Commissioner Ricardo Lara attempted to auto-delete all Department of Insurance emails while simultaneously fighting in court to subvert the California Public Records Act,” Levine said. “Californians need to regain trust in the Department of Insurance and have faith that the public officials entrusted to protect consumers are fighting for them, not for insurance companies. AB 2370 is an important tool necessary to restore ethics and transparency in the Department of Insurance and continue the Department’s mission to fight for consumers across the state.”
Source link: Insurance Journal — https://bit.ly/3iNuWlP
Source link: Consumer Watchdog — https://bit.ly/3qKuXvn
California Considers Ethics & Transparency Bill for Department of Insurance
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