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Complete Analysis and Updates on The Quackenbush Scandal

Chuck Quackenbush, the former California Insurance Commissioner who resigned in disgrace in June 2000, set the tone for his one and one-half terms in office when he said: "My administration is going to seem like heaven to (the insurance industry)."*

Quackenbush was forced to resign in the wake of corruption scandal that began with a startling expose by reporter Virginia Ellis in the Los Angeles Times.

Mr. Quackenbush, who had been under fire since taking office in 1994 for his pro-industry actions, was reported to have effectively dumped the results of investigations conducted by Insurance Department staff. When Insurance Department staff recommended that State Farm and several other insurers pay over $3 billion for their mishandling of Northridge earthquake claims, the Commissioner ignored the investigators¹ recommendations. Instead, he ordered insurers to make tax-deductible donations to a non-profit foundation he set up. This money, a total of $12 million, was used to benefit Quackenbush personally, paying for $3 million in television ads promoting the commissioner, making a $500,000 gift to an organization that placed him on its board and giving $263,000 to a sports camp attended by his children. Insurers also gave the Commissioner $250,000 in political contributions, which he used to pay off campaign loans made from his wife's business and from a second mortgage on their home.

Through our work on Proposition 103, the landmark insurance reform ballot measure approved by California voters in 1988, FTCR has monitored and challenged actions of the Insurance Commissioner and the insurance companies for many years. We have brought together our expertise on insurance matters and Chuck Quackenbush in this special report, which examines each facet of the scandal.


*Denise A. Carabet, Quackenbush at the threshold, Insurance Journal, December 26, 1994, p. 6.

Quackenbush Resigns - Watch the FTCR news conference
This news conference is in RealVideo format. You can download the free player here.

Read the Insurance Company Audits that Led to the Quackenbush Scandal
The California State Senate has made pblic the state exams that document insurance company low-ballng after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Instead of fining insurers based on these exams, Commissioner Quackenbush allowed the companies to make tax-deductible donations to private, Quackenbush-controlled foundations. Click here to download the Market Conduct Exams.

Insurance Scandal Factsheets
CA. Dept. of Insurance Investigation Reveals Massive Wrongdoing by Insurers in Northridge
The Market Conduct Exams of three companies – State Farm, Allstate and 20th Century – found that these companies had committed massive violations of §790.03. The companies were found to have routinely delayed, denied, low-balled and misled their customer... more

Quackenbush Lets the Insurance Companies Off the Hook
In Exchange for Donations to Non-profits He Controls And Campaign Contributions
News releases and other records previously issued by Commissioner Quackenbush indicate that major insurers agreed to make relatively modest donations to one or more non-profit foundations as "settlement" of the agency's confidential Market Conduct investi... more

Insurers Made Campaign Contributions to Quackenbush Which He Used to Pay Off Personal Campaign Debts
A detailed analysis of the campaign finance records of Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush and his wife Chris Quackenbush, who made a failed bid for State Senate in 1998, provide further evidence of inappropriate behavior.... more

The Quackenbush Foundations
According to news reports, Mr. Quackenbush has set up three non-profit foundations. The foundations are apparently controlled by Quackenbush or other CDI officials, though Mr. Quackenbush has denied that he controls the foundations. The Board of Directors... more

Letter to California Attorney General Calling for Investigation of Insurance Commissioner
Recent articles by the Los Angeles Times raise serious allegations of misconduct by Insurance Commissioner Charles Quackenbush. We are writing to request that you investigate these charges, which appear to constitute violations of state laws, as set forth... more

Appointed Insurance Commissioner Bill Blames Voters for Quackenbush Scandal
This proposal has been defeated
The following letter regarding SCA 19 was sent to Senator Jackie Speier, author of the Appointed Commissioner legislation, on May 15, 2000.... more

Fact Sheet on Insurance Commissioner Quackenbush, 1994-1998
In May 1994, Quackenbush said in a press interview, "You can't take company money from [the insurance industry]. You regulate them. The conflict there is difficult to explain to the voters." He later went on to accept over $2.5 million from the industr... more

FTCR Press Releases About the Insurance Scandal
  • Cal. Assembly Committee Kills Insurance Campaign Reform (2001-07-03)
  • Ca. Department of Insurance Begins to Clean House (2000-10-04)
  • Assembly to Vote on Quackenbush-Scandal Reform (2000-08-17)
  • Legislators Weaken Quackenbush-Scandal Reform Law (2000-08-08)
  • Consumer Groups, Quake Survivors Call on Legislators to Enact California Insurance Policyholder Bill of Rights (2000-08-03)
  • Comments of FTCR on Insurance Commissioner Appointment (2000-07-31)
  • Acceptable and Unacceptable Candidates for Interim Insurance Commissioner Sent to Governor Davis (2000-06-30)
  • QUACKENBUSH RESIGNS: "Independence Day" For California Consumers (2000-06-28)
  • Documents Refute Quackenbush's Alibi (2000-06-12)
  • Quackenbush: Best Defense is Lawyer Offense (2000-05-30)
  • Bill to Make Insurance Commissioner Appointed -- DEFEATED (2000-05-24)
  • Legislators Blame Voters for Quackenbush Scandal (2000-05-16)
  • Quake Victims Call for Independent Insurance Watchdog Association In Response to Quackenbush Scandal (2000-05-11)
  • Orange County Register To Get Letter From Lawyers (2000-05-10)
  • Group Asks AG to Block Quackenbush Threat to Evade Court Order (2000-05-08)
  • Quackenbush and Me: Rosenfield Analyzes Orange County Register Article (2000-05-07)
  • Northridge Quake Victims Call for Quackenbush's Impeachment (2000-05-04)
  • Unfair Business Practices Lawsuit Filed Against State Farm (2000-05-01)
  • Bill to Establish a Consumer-Based Organization to Watchdog Insurers Clears First Hurdle (2000-04-26)
  • Quackenbush Refuses to Release Key Insurancegate Documents (2000-04-24)
  • QUACKENBUSH: "STOP ME BEFORE I KILL AGAIN" (2000-04-21)
  • Quackenbush Blames Elected Post for His Scandal (2000-04-17)
  • Quackenbush Lieutenant Resigns Amid "Insurancegate" Scandal (2000-04-14)
  • Consumer Advocates See Cover-Up in Quackenbush Scandal (2000-04-07)
  • "INSURANCEGATE": Consumer Group Requests Criminal Investigation of Insurance Commissioner Quackenbush (2000-04-03)
  • FTCR Asks Quackenbush to Turn Over Reports on Insurance Companies' Violation of Claims Laws (2000-03-27)

    Insurance Scandal News Articles and Editorials
  • 3rd Man Accused in Insurance Dept. Scandal; (2002-04-03)
  • Table Set In Calif. Commissioner's Race (2002-03-11)
  • Garamendi, Mendoza Win California Insurance Commissioner Primary (2002-03-06)
  • Eleven running for California commissioner (2002-03-04)
  • Quackenbush Image Haunts Race for Insurance Watchdog Candidates Hone in on Issues of Honesty, Caring For Consumers (2002-03-03)
  • IF IT QUACKS (2002-03-01)
  • Insurance commissioner ads trigger more sniping in fiercely contested race (2002-03-01)
  • California's Next Insurance Commissioner Faces Full Agenda (2002-02-28)
  • Remember Quackenbush (2002-02-28)
  • The Finger - Bring in the Freakin' Clowns! (2002-02-28)
  • Insurance Commissioner Race Draws Diverse Supporters (2002-02-27)
  • Insurers seek to sway California's pick of industry regulator (2002-02-26)
  • Quake insurers taken to court (2000-11-21)
  • State Seeks Dismissal of Insurance Settlements (2000-11-21)
  • Low sworn in as state insurance commissioner (2000-09-19)
  • Full slate at Capitol as recess concludes: Bills seek to mop up after Quackenbush (2000-08-07)
  • Insurance Post Goes to S.F. Ex-Judge (2000-08-01)
  • Retired judge nominated to lead insurance office (2000-08-01)
  • Insurance Post Goes to S.F. Ex-Judge (2000-08-01)
  • Davis names retired Judge Harry Low to succeed Quackenbush (2000-07-31)
  • The "QuackQuake" is Over, Now the Clean-Up Must Begin (2000-07-23)
  • Ex-aide: Quackenbush knew all -- Grays will testify to investigators, lawyer says (2000-07-07)
  • State calls on McGeorge prof (2000-07-06)
  • So Much for the 'Witch Hunt' (2000-06-26)
  • Public information: Why are legislators helping hide the truth? (2000-06-26)
  • Probed firms donated to Quackenbush: His department says funds didn't affect enforcement action (2000-06-25)
  • Insurance Lawyer Gets Immunity for Hearings (2000-06-24)
  • Whistle-Blower Emerges in Quackenbush Probe (2000-06-23)
  • Quackenbush's Deals With Title Companies Raise Eyebrows (2000-06-23)
  • Judge Orders Quackenbush's Foundation to Shut Down (2000-06-21)
  • Quackenbush Faces New Set Of Questions (2000-06-21)
  • Lockyer: Quake-aid plan badly flawed -- Court filing alleges foundation problems (2000-06-16)
  • Most in poll want insurance chief out (2000-06-15)
  • Lawsuit seeks to make Quackenbush repay nearly $13 million in donations (2000-06-15)
  • The Quackenbush affair: Earthquake victims remain at heart of scandal (2000-06-14)
  • Time to speak the 'I' word (2000-06-14)
  • Documents Show Insurers Botched Quake Claims (2000-06-13)
  • Reports on Quake Claims Made Public (2000-06-13)
  • Senator releases confidential audits of Northridge insurers (2000-06-13)
  • Secret audits rip insurance firms (2000-06-12)
  • Resign -- Now. Quackenbush is unfit for his office (2000-06-10)
  • Quackenbush Exit Time (2000-06-09)
  • Quackenbush's Conduct Invites Impeachment (2000-06-09)
  • Checks were forged, minutes falsified, Assembly panel told (2000-06-09)
  • Insurance Czar's Aide Under Fire (2000-06-09)
  • Quackenbush Critic Talks Impeachment (2000-06-08)
  • PR Firm's Funding Scheme for Quackenbush (2000-06-08)
  • Quackenbush investigators issue 20 more subpoenas (2000-06-02)
  • Consumer advocate wonders why he is on Quackenbush's request for documents (2000-05-30)
  • Subpoena looms for Quackenbush (2000-05-25)
  • Dump Quack and the Moolah (2000-05-19)
  • Senate Panel Wants Insurance Chief Appointed, Not Elected (2000-05-18)
  • Panel backs amendment for an appointed insurance chief (2000-05-18)
  • Bill seeks voter OK for appointed insurance chief (2000-05-18)
  • QUACKENBUSH'S QUAGMIRE (2000-05-15)
  • Resign, Mr. Quackenbush (2000-05-07)
  • Freeze proposed on fund created by Quackenbush (2000-05-02)
  • Bill seeks to seize Quackenbush fund for quake victims (2000-05-02)
  • Quackenbush Overstepped, Counsel Says (2000-04-22)
  • EARTHQUAKE FOUNDATION'S GIFT SCRUTINIZED (2000-04-10)
  • Controversial fund's creation included pressure on insurers (2000-04-10)
  • Controversial fund's creation included pressure on insurers (2000-04-08)
  • Quackenbush Let Insurer Avoid State Investigation (2000-04-07)
  • Calif. group seeks probe of insurance commissioner (2000-04-03)
  • Quackenbush Rejected Steep Fines For Insurers (2000-04-02)
  • Home cooking: Quackenbush's money transfer to wife merits probe (2000-03-29)
  • Odorous contributions: Commissioner collects from insurance companies (2000-03-28)
  • Funny About This Money (2000-03-28)
  • Reports On Insurers Demanded (2000-03-28)
  • Donations to Quackenbush Paid Wife's Campaign Debts (2000-03-26)
  • Critics question gifts to official (2000-03-26)

    Commentaries on the Scandal by FTCR Staff
    Quackenbush Scandal Update May 2, 2000
    Insurancegate: How will the Legislature respond? April 17, 2000
    Insurancegate, Quackenbush and the Law March 28, 2000


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