Back in May, I was up in Sacramento with an advocacy group that I participate with to address Assembly Bill 98, which would extend maternity benefits to private insurers. In many private insurance plans that women purchase on their own in the open market, basic maternity services are excluded or extremely expensive. One of the Assembly members that my group was assigned to speak with was Michael Duvall, who wasn’t in his office at the time so we had to talk to one of his staffers. In the meeting, it became apparent that the staffer wasn’t particularly interested in the substance of AB 98, and instead went on to tell us that his boss was not in favor of putting any sort of requirement or regulation on health insurers. We couldn’t sway his office even appealing to the common sense of basic maternal health for women in California, which I found somewhat ironic given Duvall’s purported family values record.
Fast forward a few months, and we discover that Duvall is literally in bed with lobbyists, bragging about his conquests on an open microphone during a committee meeting earlier this summer. Allegedly, one of the lobbyists that Duvall has been with works for Sempra Energy, which is convenient since he was the Vice chair of the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee. When this story broke, I couldn’t help but think of Representative Loretta Sanchez, who is allegedly involved in a romantic relationship with a homeland and defense lobbyist which I have documented here.
Like Duvall, Congresswoman Sanchez’s alleged conquest lobbies in areas that are clearly related to her own committee assignments. But given that, the difference is that Rep. Sanchez has been mum on the issue, and this might be an area where being a woman is an advantage. Since there are fewer women in politics, I think that there might be some reluctance to pursue a story like hers. Also, Congresswoman Sanchez has never been one to go on a family values bender like some of her more conservative colleagues, so there really isn’t a witch hunt to catch her engaging in something “naughty.” This is a woman who has no qualms about holding a fundraiser at the Playboy mansion and who will avoid answering any questions probing her donor relationship with Hugh Hefner. Contrast Sanchez’s behavior with Duvall who was eager to kiss or in this case “spank” and tell.
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Photo Credit: Former Assemblyman Duvall’s official portrait & Loretta Sanchez’s infamous 2008 Holiday Card