Bet you never thought we could get sex and the name of an electric utility in the same headline. But as I just posted at LAO, Sempra Energy has to deal with a nasty story about how one of its Sacramento lobbyists is doing Republican Assemblyman Michael Duvall from Orange County. It's only coming to light because Duvall apparently was unaware that a live mike was recording his boasts to a fellow lawmaker right before a public hearing a couple of months back. Now it's out. The OC Weekly had ID'd the lobbyist as Heidi DeJong Barsuglia.
In April--two months after Duvall became vice chairman of the Utilities & Commerce committee-- Sempra Energy hired Barsuglia as one of its top lobbyists, according to Secretary of State records. Barsuglia, who has a law degree and once worked as a speechwriter for Governor Pete Wilson, had previously worked at the California Retailers Association (CRA).
The San Diego-based utility conglomerate (created in 1998 by Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric) isn't shy about lobbying lawmakers for favorable treatment. This session, they gave Duvall $1,500 in campaign contributions. In May, the assemblyman officially adopted the company's negative view on Assembly Bill 64, which proposes increasing the percentage of electricity the utilities must procure from environmentally sensitive sources.