Senator Jerry Hill, Assemblymember Kevin Mullin, San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane Urge AG Nominee to Act Swiftly in CPUC Corruption Probe

December 02, 2016

For Immediate Release
 

Senator Jerry Hill, Assemblymember Kevin Mullin and San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane
Urge Attorney General Nominee to Front-Burner Corruption Probe of
California Public Utilities Commission

Investigation of Emails Between PUC and Utility Execs Began in 2014

 

SACRAMENTO – State Senator Jerry Hill, Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin and San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane sent a letter today to Congressman Xavier Becerra, named by Governor Brown as California’s next attorney general, to urge that the office of the state’s top prosecutor press forcefully ahead with the corruption probe of the California Public Utilities Commission.

Attorney General Kamala Harris opened a public corruption probe of the CPUC in 2014 and with her election to U.S. Senate, the Peninsula legislators and San Bruno’s mayor want to ensure that the investigation does not falter in the transition from Harris’s administration to that of her successor. [Letter linked below.]

“It’s essential that a thorough investigation move forward and that all possible criminal charges are vigorously prosecuted,” said state Senator Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. “A misstep or a delay could impair – or eliminate – the chance to pursue a case.”

“The residents of San Bruno, CA were devastated when a PG&E pipeline exploded in 2010,” said Assemblymember Mullin, D-San Mateo. “Besides the physical and emotional devastation of the blast itself, residents continue to suffer from the knowledge that PG&E executives engaged in ‘inappropriate’ communications with the CPUC; specifically, former CPUC President, Michael Peevey. As the Attorney General’s Office begins transitioning to new leadership, I urge incoming Attorney General Becerra and his staff to make sure the investigation into the still outstanding issues of collusion and dereliction of duty continues and that any and all violations of criminal and consumer laws are prosecuted fully.”

San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane said: “When the PG&E gas line exploded in our community that horrible evening in 2010, we first thought it was a terrible accident. But we soon learned that the devastation our community experienced occurred in part as a result of a failure by our Public Utilities Commission, under the leadership of former President Michael Peevey, to adequately regulate our state's public utilities and to protect our safety. It is time to see that these failures are fully investigated and prosecuted appropriately. Our community's recovery and the safety of Californians depend on it."

Background:

On September 19, 2014, Mayor Ruane, Assemblymember Mullin and Senator Hill hand-delivered a letter to Attorney General Harris’s Office in San Francisco to call for an investigation of apparent repeated violations of the law by the CPUC during the penalty case related to the San Bruno disaster and other cases affecting utility rates, as well as prohibited communications between then-CPUC President Peevey and utility company executives.

Later it emerged that the Attorney General's Office had opened an investigation on the same day. Investigators subsequently seized computers, files, numerous documents and other material in raids at CPUC headquarters, Peevey’s home and other locations. A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office has said that AG Harris remains dedicated to the investigation.

Elected to the U.S. Senate last month, Harris takes office in January. The chief deputy attorney general, Nathan Barankin, is to join Harris in Washington, DC, to serve as the new senator’s chief of staff. On Thursday, Governor Brown named Congressman Becerra, a former California assemblymember and a former state deputy attorney general, to replace AG Harris. The nomination awaits confirmation by the state Senate and Assembly. If there is a gap between Senate-Elect Harris's departure for her new post and Congressman Becerra's confirmation by the state Legislature, the governor will appoint an interim attorney general.

Resources:

12-2-2016 Letter to Congressman Becerra
http://sd13.senate.ca.gov/sites/sd13.senate.ca.gov/files/12-02-16_HillMullinRuane_LetterToBecerra.pdf

9-19-2014 Letter to Attorney General Kamala Harris
http://sd13.senate.ca.gov/sites/sd13.senate.ca.gov/files/09-19-14%20-%20Letter%20to%20AGHarris_0.pdf

9/18-2014 News Release
http://sd13.senate.ca.gov/news/2014-09-18-senator-hill-assemblymember-mullin-san-bruno-mayor-jim-ruane-deliver-letter-state-ag

10-13-14 Thank You to AG Harris
http://sd13.senate.ca.gov/sites/sd13.senate.ca.gov/files/10-13-14_HillMullinRuane_LetterToHarris%20Thank%20You.pdf


 

 

Contacts:
Leslie Guevarra, Office of Senator Hill, 415-298-3404 cell
Susan Kennedy, Office of Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin, 925-437-2510 cell
Connie Jackson, San Bruno City Manager, 650-616-7056 office

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