By now, thanks to the general media, everyone knows that California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara took money into his 2020 campaign – some $53k – from individuals related to Applied Underwriters. The evidence in the timeline of events strongly suggests that he took official actions – by changing or staying administrative law judges’ decisions to Applied’s benefit – after receiving Applied Underwriters’ money.
Correlation may or may not equal causation, but the proximity of his direct favorable actions in legal cases before the Department of Insurance raise the issue. What’s at stake is far more subtle and farther under the radar than the approval of the sale of Applied Underwriters’ and its affiliates, or the approval of rate filings for wildfire, or cannabis cultivation coverage, all of which are on Lara’s desk. It is about dozens of cases, a precedent, and hundreds of millions of dollars that Applied wants from California employers who may not owe it or who may be due refunds.
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