The Office of State Ethics is taking the rare step of seeking authority to subpoena personal financial information that Insurance Commissioner Katherine L. Wade has failed to provide the lawyer responsible for determining if Wade has a conflict of interest ruling on the merger of Anthem and Cigna. Wade’s lawyer says she has been responsive and suggests the conflict question is moot, because the state’s review is suspended until a federal anti-trust suit is resolved.
Senate Republicans asked the state Freedom of Information Commission on Friday to penalize Insurance Commissioner Katharine L. Wade, saying she and her department withheld documents related to the pending merger of Anthem and Cigna that another agency deemed to be public information.
With decisions from the Justice Department pending on two potential mergers involving Aetna and Cigna, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., sent a pair of letters Monday urging both companies to maintain a “strong presence” in Connecticut regardless of the outcome. He did not oppose the mergers.
Gov. Dannel Malloy presided Friday over the Democratic Platform Committee meeting in Orlando, Fla., an event held under the pall of the shooting deaths of five police officers the night before in Dallas and shootings this week by police officers of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana. The platform is usually overshadowed by the drama of officially nominating candidates for president and vice president at the convention. But not this year.
Insurance Commissioner Katharine L. Wade’s controversial refusal to recuse herself from ruling on the Anthem-Cigna insurance merger has provoked a reappraisal of ethics regulators, who heavily rely on the self-reporting of public officials, and an ethics code that may be clearer to lawyers than lovers of English.
Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo publicly urged Insurance Commissioner Katharine L. Wade on Thursday to recuse herself from Connecticut’s review of the Anthem-Cigna merger, saying even a positive legal ruling from ethics officials would not overcome the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Insurance Commissioner Katharine L. Wade’s first contact with state ethics officials was to inform them in September why she intended to act on the merger of Anthem and Cigna, not to seek a ruling on whether they saw a potential conflict due to her family’s long association with Cigna. Now, while she’s deep in the review of a merger that could transform the health insurance industry, Wade is going to get the legally binding ethics opinion that she and the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy never saw the need to request.
House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey became the first Democratic leader Friday to call on Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade to recuse herself from ruling on Anthem’s merger with Bloomfield-based Cigna, the commissioner’s last private-sector employer before joining the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. The governor said he sees no conflict.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton expressed “serious concerns” about the planned Aetna-Humana and Anthem-Cigna mergers this week; President Obama vetoed a defense appropriations bill; and the White House released a plan to help Puerto Rico deal with a severe economic crisis.