Conflict Of Interest Decried
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights wrote Governor Davis and the head of his Office of Research and Planning, Loretta Lynch, to ask that Ms. Lynch recuse herself from her role as the Governor’s point person on the Administration’s HMO liability policies and in negotiations with legislators.
The law firm where Lynch has been a partner since 1991, Keker and Van Nest in San Francisco, represents defendants in an unfair business practices case for false advertising brought by the Foundation against Kaiser Permanente, the state’s largest HMO, in March.
“It is inappropriate for an attorney affiliated with an insurance defense law firm that represents defendants at the nation’s largest HMO to be the Davis Administration’s point person on HMO liability reform,” wrote the Foundation’s Advocacy Director Jamie Court. “Your prominent involvement in this matter, long years of service with a managed care defense firm and obstreperousness with legislative staff raises the specter of impropriety, which has already plagued the Governor’s HMO reform efforts.”
Court noted the disclosure last week that Davis’ chief political consultant, Gary South, represents an HMO/big business anti-reform lobbying group and intervened with the Administration to slow down reform.
“As the final days of this century’s legislative business conclude, we implore you to restore confidence in the integrity of the Governor’s Office and its decisions on HMO reforms. The cleansing of the Administration of further conflicts of interests requires that Ms. Lynch recuse herself from the lead role in the HMO liability policy of the Administration.”
The letter follows. The Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan consumer watchdog group that houses Consumers For Quality Care.