Sempra Energy under fire in lobbyist sex scandal - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Sempra Energy under fire in lobbyist sex scandal

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  • Disgraced California lawmaker denies affairs

    Disgraced California lawmaker denies affairs

    Thursday, September 10 2009 4:08 PM EDT2009-09-10 20:08:55 GMT
    Thursday, September 10 2009 4:23 PM EDT2009-09-10 20:23:41 GMT
    A pro-family values California lawmaker who resigned after being caught on tape boasting about his sexual conquests denied Thursday that he had extramarital affairs. 
    A pro-family values California lawmaker who resigned after being caught on tape boasting about his sexual conquests denied Thursday that he had extramarital affairs, saying "my offense was engaging in inappropriate storytelling." 

The parent company of SDG&E is coming under fire in the wake of a sex scandal involving one of its lobbyists. A state assemblyman has already resigned after he was caught on tape talking about his alleged affair with the Sempra employee.

Orange County Assemblyman Mike Duvall didn't know the microphone was on while going into detail about his sexcapades with a Sempra lobbyist. Duvall, a married father of two, resigned in wake of those shocking comments.

Published reports identify one of the two women Duvall talks about as Heidi Barsuglia, who lives in Sacramento with her husband. Barsuglia is a top lobbyist for Sempra Energy. The company says it's investigating, but claims Barsuglia denies having an affair.

In the meantime, watchdog groups are not surprised. Michael Shames with the Utility Consumer's Action Network says the big energy companies will stop at nothing to get legislation passed.

"I've gone to conventions where regulators are covered with lobbyists, taking them out dining, dancing, doing social things. This happens frequently," Shames said.

Election records show Sempra gave Assemblyman Duvall $1,500 in campaign contributions this session. It's a drop in the bucket compared to the $2.7 million Sempra Energy spent on political campaigns over the past 12 months.

In light of the most recent sex scandal, watchdog groups are calling for more aggressive oversight.

"What we have here, it sounds like, is a lobbyist who cross the line and an assemblyman who is remarkably indiscreet, and maybe even stupid about it," Shames said.

On his website, Duvall said today that his resignation should not be taken as an admission that he had an affair.

Sempra Energy declined to be interviewed on camera.

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