By Carla Marinucci and Jeremy B. White, POLITICO - CALIFORNIA PLAYBOOK

February 19, 2020…

Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit advocacy group, has filed suit to compel California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and the Department of Insurance “to hand over records of Lara’s meetings and communications with insurance companies that used campaign contributions in an apparent attempt to influence policy decisions.’’

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday under the California Public Records Act, maintains Lara’s office has failed to produce complete records and calendars relating to $54,300 in campaign contributions it says Lara received from individuals linked to two insurance firms, Applied Underwriters and Independence Holding Company. Lara, as a candidate, pledged not to take contributions related to firms with business in the Department of Insurance.

RESPONSE from Lara spokesman Michael Soller: “Transparency is important to Commissioner Lara and that is why his calendar of meetings with external stakeholders is public and posted on our website and the Department has responded to all requests for his records.”