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Political commission says no further disclosure required on tribute dinner

By Jeff McDonald | Oct. 2, 2015 – 6:07 p.m.

State elections regulators have cleared the California Public Utilities Commission president of any wrongdoing related to a February gala dinner honoring his predecessor.

The Fair Political Practices Commission announced late Friday that its investigation into Michael Picker was over and the top state utilities regulator had not broken any rules.

“After a full investigation, the enforcement division has closed this case without finding a violation,” the commission wrote to Picker in a letter dated Sept. 28.

Picker, who was confirmed by the state Senate as utilities commission president last month, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He has maintained through a spokeswoman all along that he fully complied with state disclosure rules.

The state political regulator opened its investigation earlier this year into Picker’s disclosure forms related to a February dinner organized to honor Picker’s predecessor, Michael Peevey. The event was attended by hundreds of industry executives and public officials.

On a state form for reporting funds raised at the behest of a public official, Picker disclosed that $65,000 was raised in his name from labor groups and energy lawyers to help pay for the dinner. Picker said then that he was wrongly listed as a co-sponsor and filed the disclosure out of an abundance of caution.

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