Bustamante Questioned About Campaign Donations
Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (D) is accepting contributions from health care providers who treat workers' compensation claimants, workers' compensation attorneys and other groups whose work is related to insurance, the Los Angeles Times reports. Bustamante in June said he would return contributions from insurance companies.
Since 2005, Bustamante has collected $260,000 from insurance companies. He has returned less than half of that amount, according to the Times.
Bustamante has used a portion of insurance-related contributions to pay debts from his 2003 gubernatorial campaign debt. He said that he is allowed to use insurance money to pay off debt "that is not promoting me to run for insurance commissioner ... I was paying bills from 2003. I wasn't appearing on TV. I wasn't promoting myself. "
More than $73,000 remains in his current campaign fund, although Bustamante said Wednesday that he would return $16,000 identified by the Times as being from insurers.
Steve Poizner, Bustamante's Republican opponent, also has declined to take insurance donations and has returned some funds found to be related to insurers. Poizner, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, has used $8.3 million of his personal funds for his campaign.
Bustamante and Poizner both said they would support legislation to make it illegal for insurance commissioners to accept insurance-related donations (Morain, Los Angeles Times, 10/12).