AG Probe of New Mexico’s Rep. Foley Sought

August 5, 2008

A Chaves County, N.M., commissioner wants the state attorney general to investigate business ties between state Rep. Dan Foley and a contract the state awarded for supplemental insurance to government employees.

Foley, R-Roswell, told the Albuquerque Journal in a copyright story that the contract was awarded through a competitive process and he did nothing improper.

The request for an investigation came from a longtime critic of Foley, Chaves County Commissioner Harold Hobson. Phil Sisneros, spokesman for the attorney general, said Hobson’s letter was being forwarded to the appropriate legal section.

Foley dismissed Hobson’s request as a political ploy.

The question involves a state decision last year to allow Allstate to sell supplemental cancer, accident and universal life insurance to government employees.

Foley, an Allstate agent, said the company pays him 10 percent commission on all policies sold under the contract because he alerted the firm after noticing the state was soliciting insurance proposals on its General Services Department Web site.

He also worked with Allstate “getting them pointed in the right direction” on responding to the request for proposals, he said.

General Services Department spokesman Alex Cuellar estimated about 500 state or local employees have signed up for the voluntary insurance through payroll deduction.

A state Web site for supplemental voluntary insurance lists Foley as one of Allstate’s 19 participating agents.

Foley said he’s had no contact with state officials about the contract. Cuellar confirmed that.

Hobson, in letter to Attorney General Gary King, said state law bars state agencies from sole source contracts in which a public officer or employee of the state has a “substantial interest.”

Foley’s involvement in supplemental health care policies represents a “direct conflict of interest as the impact of any proposed legislation may reduce the need or the method of these supplemental policies for state employees,” Hobson alleged

Foley dismissed the argument as without merit, saying state law defines sole source contracts as those awarded without competition. He said Allstate participated in a competitive process.

Cuellar said Allstate was the only health insurance provider to submit a proposal to offer the specific supplemental insurance. Other companies were selected for other types of insurance such as prepaid legal services, home and auto insurance and whole life.

Foley said he has not directly sold the insurance to any state employee and has not solicited any state worker to buy it.

Foley, who has been in the Legislature since 1999, lost his re-election bid in the June 3 primary. His term ends Jan. 1.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.