CHUCK QUACKENBUSH: Insurance Commissioner Steps Down
Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush resigned yesterday amidst charges of corruption and a criminal investigation that was "certain" to lead to impeachment, the Los Angeles Times reports. Quackenbush today was set to testify under oath before the Assembly Insurance Committee to answer charges that he misappropriated earthquake insurance funds for personal political purposes (Ellis/Ingram, 6/29). The former "Republican star" reportedly improperly forgave about $3 billion in penalties against several earthquake insurance companies in exchange for $12.8 million in tax-deductible contributions to his not-for- profit California Research and Assistance Fund, a foundation created to help earthquake victims. Quackenbush allegedly spent several million dollars from the fund to produce earthquake preparedness commercials featuring himself and conduct polls to determine his popularity among voters. State Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) said he would continue to investigate the matter despite Quackenbush's resignation, and may file civil or criminal charges (Booth, Washington Post, 6/29). Gov. Gray Davis (D) said he will name a person of "unquestioned integrity" to replace Quackenbush. Davis, however, must act by July 10 -- the effective date of Quackenbush's resignation -- or the insurance commissioner's chief deputy, Michael Kelley, will become acting commissioner (Morain, Los Angeles Times, 6/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.