By Dan Morain & Barbara Harvey, CALMATTERS.ORG
July 12, 2019
Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has promised to return $53,000 in insurance-related donations to his 2020 reelection campaign.
Among the donations: $15,500 in April from Theresa DeBarbrie, administrative coordinator of Barrow Street Nursery School in Greenwich Village.
- New York nursery school administrators aren’t regular sources of campaign money for California insurance commissioners.
- However, she’s married to Carl DeBarbarie, of Remco Insurance in New York.
The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Jeff McDonald, who ferreted all this out, reached Carl DeBarbrie, who acknowledged that his firm does business in California. When pressed on details about the donation, DeBarbie said:
“I’ll have to get back to you on that.”
After initially brushing off McDonald, Lara issued a statement: “I pledged not to accept insurance money during my campaign, and it is a pledge I intend to keep. I appreciate The San Diego Union-Tribune bringing this to my attention.”
Lara has been here before. During his 2018 insurance commissioner campaign, he took money from Doctors Company, a medical malpractice carrier. After CalMatters pointed it out, Lara returned it.
History lesson: Chuck Quackenbush, once a rising Republican star, took insurance industry campaign donations while serving as insurance commissioner and acted on issues related to those donors.
- Amid investigations and press scrutiny, much from my former colleague, Virgnia Ellis, Quackenbush was forced to resign, effective 19 years ago on Wednesday.
- Ever since, insurance commissioners have shunned insurance money.