Steve Poizner, a Silicon Valley telecommunications multi-millionaire entrepreneur, withdrew his name on Wednesday from consideration to fill one of the five seats on the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), citing too many conflicts with his rich and varied personal investment portfolio. Poizner, an unsuccessful candidate for an elected state legislative seat two years ago, said he plans to run next year for the state Insurance Commissioner’s post.
For more than three months, Poizner and state attorneys had worked to structure the candidate’s investments in such a way that he be would free of conflicts of interest in voting on various energy and telecommunications matters, among others, at the CPUC. But Wednesday, they threw in the towel, with Poizner telling the media he couldn’t serve on the CPUC without having to recuse himself on a number of votes.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s press office indicated that the governor is not saying when he will nominate another candidate for the fifth seat on the panel. The position has been vacant since Jan. 1 although Schwarzenegger named Poizner to the post last December, along with another nominee, Dian Grueneich, who took her seat two months ago. As more time elapsed, prospects grew dimmer that Poizner’s appointment was going to ever advance.
Ultimately, he acknowledged that he could not find a way to satisfy lawyers at California’s Fair Political Practices Commission that would allow him to vote on decisions affecting the telecommunications companies — numbering at least 100 — with ties to his portfolio, the Los Angeles Times reported in a business news report Thursday.
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