Questions on Speaking Fees Prompt Resignation of State Cabinet Official
On Thursday, Rosario MarÃn resigned as secretary of the California Consumer Services Agency after questions had been raised about speaking fees she received from businesses, including pharmaceutical companies that were lobbying her agency, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In state disclosure forms, MarÃn indicated that she has been paid at least $50,000 for speaking appearances between April 2004 and the end of 2007.Â According to the Times, it is unclear exactly how much MarÃn was paid because state law only requires officials to report whether they have been paid more than $10,000 annually from each source of income.
In October 2007, MarÃn was paid $15,000 for a speech to Pfizer employees in New York as part of the firm's Latino Leadership Conference.
In October 2008, she received $13,500 from Bristol-Myers Squibb for a speech to employees at the company's New Jersey campus.Â
Both speeches were delivered at times when the drugmakers were lobbying state agencies that fell under MarÃn's authority, including the California Board of Pharmacy.
Schwarzenegger Administration Response
Aaron McLear, a spokesperson for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), said that the administration's policy bars officials from receiving speaking fees (Rothfeld, Los Angeles Times, 3/6).
In addition, state law specifically prohibits state officials from receiving speaking fees unless they are linked to an outside business such as teaching, medicine or law.
California Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating MarÃn (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 3/6).
The governor has not named a replacement.Schwarzenegger appointed MarÃn to head the Consumer Services Agency in 2006 (Los Angeles Times, 3/6). 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.