Two California Officials Under Fire For Conflicts Of Interest

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— The group Consumer Watchdog is accusing two top state officials of long-term and ongoing conflicts of interest.

Consumer advocates want the governor to remove two long time employees of the state's Department of Toxic Substances Control. The group insists the state workers have serious conflicts of interest.

The group said Chief Deputy Director Odette Madriago and Deputy Director Stewart Black of the California Department of Toxic Substance Control are heavily invested in companies over which they have influence.

That's why consumer advocates are asking Jerry Brown to act and remove them from their jobs within the department.

Liza Tucker, a consumer advocate with Consumer Watchdog, investigated the pair's financial records, and those documents reveal they have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in companies that include Dutch Royal Shell, General Electric, Chevron and Abbott Labs.

"They both have, for many years now, held stock in companies that are regulated by the department, or have permits before the department, or have had corrective actions taken against them," said Tucker.

The conflicts came to light as Tucker was investigating the department for Consumer Watchdog. That report, "Golden Wasteland," accused the state agency of failing to do a good job of regulating hazardous waste handlers and generators.

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