CA lobbyists targeted after sex-tape scandal

October 14, 2009 7:30:22 PM PDT
A government watchdog group is calling for an investigation of two Sacramento lobbyists caught-up in a sex scandal with a former state lawmaker. The group claims the relationships between the lobbyists and former Assemblyman Mike Duvall violate political reform legislation.

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With two investigations into Duvall's actions dropped, a government watchdog group is now going after the lobbyists he bragged about sleeping with on tape.

The complaint filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission alleges that Heidi DeJong Barsuglia, who works for Sempra Energy and another lobbyist identified only as "Char" violated the Political Reform Act, which bans activities that might make a politician obligated to a lobbyist.

"Common Cause would like to see the end result here be stronger lobby disclosure laws so that lobbyists are reporting who they're meeting with, what they're talking about, where and when," Derek Cressman of California Common Cause said.

The married Duvall, who resigned shortly after the tape surfaced last month, said during a committee hearing break he liked his mistress's "eyepatch underwear" and their new-found fun.

RAW VIDEO: Duvall discusses details of affair while in a committee hearing

Among the supporting evidence cited in the complaint is an ABC7 report on how common affairs are between lawmakers and lobbyists.

"It makes my job tougher, if I have to compete against someone who wants to engage in prostitution to get a piece of legislation passed, that's not something I'm willing to do for my client, and so it gives them a leg up, and it really dirties up the process," an unnamed source said in that story,

"There are some lobbyists who are saying this is a widespread type of pattern," Cressman said.

The FPPC has two weeks to rule whether it will investigate the matter further.

"The FPPC has the ability to assess an administrative penalty of up to $5000 per violation and in certain circumstances, we have the ability to issue a civil lawsuit," FPPC Executive Director Roman Porter said.

Sempra Energy said Wednesday it will cooperate with any authorities who decide to investigate. The lobbyist is still on paid leave and still denies the allegations of trading votes for sex.

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