Union Asks Núñez Not To Vote on Health Care Reform
On Tuesday, the California Nurses Association urged Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) to abstain from voting on health care legislation while his wife works for an agency largely funded by the California Hospital Association, the Sacramento Bee reports (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 10/17).
Núñez's wife, Maria Robles, was hired as president of the not-for-profit Californians for Patient Care in January, one month after Núñez introduced AB 8, a bill seeking to overhaul California's health care system. The organization says its mission is tied to preserving and improving the health care system (California Healthline, 10/16).
Tax records list Californians for Patient Care as a subsidiary of CHA, which provided more than 98% of the group's funding in 2004 and 2005.
Zenei Cortez, spokesperson for CNA, said, "Californians can no longer trust that [Núñez] will represent the public interest and not the financial interest of a large industry that has put his wife on their payroll."
Robles maintains that she does not lobby Núñez or discuss health care reform with him.
Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies, said Núñez's votes would not directly and specifically produce additional revenue for Robles' organization. However, he added that Robles "shouldn't be receiving income from somebody who is receiving money from the hospital association" (Sacramento Bee, 10/17).