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This organization drew heat from some of our friends over the last year for tangling with then-Speaker of the California Assembly Fabian Nunez — over his support for Governor Schwarzenegger’s mandatory private health insurance plan, his flawed term limits extension initiative and his campaign contributor-financed junkets.

Why, some of our friends asked, are you fighting with Fabian?  He’s a friend…..

Well, the verdict is in on Mr. Nunez and his real friends.

The Democrat, who helped Governor Schwarzenegger slash benefits to injured workers under a cruel workers compensation overhaul that didn’t regulate insurers, just became a member of the board of directors of workers comp insurer Zenith National Insurance.   The Sacramento Bee reports "directors are paid $90,000 per year, with an additional $40,000 paid for every committee on which they serve." 

The former Speaker’s main post-Assembly gig is as the resident Democrat in a Republican "public affairs" firm, Mercury Public Affairs, run by former Schwarzenegger aides. As the LA Times reports:

Steve Schmidt, Mercury’s California chief, was the bald consultant at the helm of John McCain’s losing presidential campaign and ran Schwarzenegger’s successful reelection in 2006.

Adam Mendelsohn, another partner, is the governor’s
former communications director. Along with former corporate executives,
Mercury’s top echelon also features onetime advisers to former
Republican Gov. George Pataki of New York. 

"I’m in the private sector now," Nunez told the Bee, "so I make no apologies for
being on this board or any other board that might reach out to me and
ask me to be a part of it."

As a private citizen, Nunez has the right to any pursuit of happiness he sees fit.  Of course, he still needs to obey state revolving door rules that prohibit him from lobbying the legislature for the next year.  However our friends who argued that Nunez is a friend of the consumer and of progressives don’t have an argument left.

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
Providing an effective voice for American consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Non-partisan.

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