Watchdog Group California Common Cause Asks Why Bass and Brown Scuttle Duvall / Lobbyist Investigation

Media Contact:

October 6, 2009

Derek Cressman (916) 760-1534

Kathay Feng (310) 880-6668

Watchdog Group California Common Cause Asks Why Bass and Brown

Scuttle Duvall / Lobbyist Investigation – Is it the Money?

California Common Cause, a non-partisan citizens group organized around government accountability, expressed outrage that both Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and Attorney General Jerry Brown are turning a blind eye to recent allegations that a Sempra Energy lobbyist engaged in a sexual affair with Republican Assemblymember Michael Duvall at the same time she was lobbying him to oppose renewable energy legislation.

“It’s time to take off the blinders and eye patches. The Assembly Ethics Committee and the Attorney General have a duty to the public to investigate whether the Sempra lobbyist’s sexual affair with former Assembly member Duvall compromised his actions as a lawmaker,” said Derek Cressman, Regional Director of State Operations for Common Cause’s Western States. “Their unwillingness to even ask questions makes you wonder what else might come out.”

California Government Code Section 86205, reads:

No lobbyist or lobbying firm shall: (a) Do anything with the purpose of placing any elected state

officer, legislative official, agency official, or state candidate under personal obligation to the lobbyist, the lobbying firm, or the lobbyist’s or the firm’s employer.

California Common Cause Executive Director, Kathay Feng commented, “The people have a right to know what is happening in Sacramento. California law prohibits lobbyists from engaging in behavior that would compromise a lawmaker. The Attorney General has an obligation to enforce the law. Why won’t Jerry Brown even investigate?”

Sempra contributed $10,310 to Brown in 2006, and $11,200 to Bass between 2006 and 2009. From 2007 to 2008 Sempra gave the California Democratic Party $291,000, and another $88,000 so far in 2009.

California Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring an open, honest, and accountable government, also working to strengthen public participation and ensuring that political processes serve the public interest, rather than the special interests.