EAST COUNTY ACTIVIST FILES ETHICS COMPLAINT AGAINST SEMPRA/SDG&E LOBBYIST; ATTORNEY COULD FACE DISBARMENT
September 11, 2009 (Boulevard) – Donna Tisdale, Chair of the Boulevard Planning Group (photo), has filed a formal ethics complaint with the California Bar Association against Sempra/SDG&E lobbyist Heidi DeJong Barsuglia. Barsuglia has been implicated in a sex scandal involving Assemblyman Mike Duvall, as we have previously reported.
In an e-mail to East County Magazine, Tisdale noted that the Secretary of State’s Office website indicates Barsuglia completed an ethics course. “Guess the training did not stick,” Tisdale observed wryly.
“This complaint is filed on behalf of myself and other members of the public at large. The corruption of public officials and betrayal of public trust should not to be taken lightly,” wrote Tisdale, who asked the Bar Association to launch a formal investigation. “Ms. Barsuglia allegedly conducted an improper relationship with an elected official who reportedly voted on issues before him in a manner that appear to have benefited her employer.”
She added, “This is not the first time that Sempra Energy and their subsidiary San Diego Gas and Electric, and various managers and employees, have been in the news for questionable ethics and behavior. This hits close to home for us because they have several major projects in the works that create significant and cumulative impacts to our low-income rural community and sensitive lands in Eastern San Diego County. “
Penalties for the lobbyist, who is licensed under her maiden name, Heidi DeJong, could include suspension or disbarment; the latter would prevent from practicing law in California.
Vice Chair of the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee, Duvall boasted of having sex with Barsuglia, not realizing a microphone in the hearing room was live. He resigned after the Sacramento Bee posted a video of his confessed transgressions, which he has since claimed did not occur. Duvall also denies the allegations. SDG&E has issued a video statement pledging to investigate the accusations against its employee.