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Dec 01, 2000

CONTACT: Pam Pressley - 310-392-0522 x307

Attorney General Gives Consent To Removing P.U.C. Commissioner Duque

Finds Buying Stocks In Regulated Company Warrants Removal
The California Attorney General has issued an opinion allowing for the removal of Henry Duque from the California Public Utility Commission.

Attorney General Bill Lockyer stated, "The Constitution requires that as a qualification for holding office as a Commission member, the member must not hold a financial interest in any corporation subject to regulation by the Commission…It would therefore appear that the defendant's office became vacant immediately upon his acquisition of the 700 shares of stock in Nextel on May 12,1999. The fact that the defendant subsequently disposed of the prohibited interest is immaterial and did not operate to restore him to the vacated office."

"When California's top law enforcement official says you broke the law, it's time to leave office," said Pam Pressley, staff attorney at the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "The Attorney General agreed that commissioners have to be absolutely free of conflicts of interests because of the gravity of their office. There is no fudge room for regulators with as much responsibility as Duque. We hope Mr. Duqe takes the ruling to heart or we will have to ask a court to intervene."

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