Attorney General Authorizes Court Challenge Over Ability of Public Utilities Commissioner to Hold Office

Friday, December 1, 2000
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer granted today the "quo warranto" request of a consumer foundation which is seeking removal of a Public Utilities Commissioner who invested in a communications company.

"Whether Henry Duque forfeited his office as a member of the California Public Utilities Commission when he purchased 700 shares of stock of a communications company subject to regulation by the commission presents a substantial issue of law that warrants judicial resolution," concluded the Attorney General's formal opinion on the quo warranto action sought by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.

By law, the Attorney General must approve all quo warranto actions filed by private individuals, who are seeking to sue in the name of the State of California. A typical quo warranto action involves a lawsuit to remove a person from public office. The quo warranto process is designed to protect public officials from frivolous lawsuits.

Attorney General's Opinion No. 00-1005 discusses the issues of law raised in the case. The opinion concludes that allowing the matter to be brought before the court "would serve the public interest." A copy of the opinion is attached.

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