State Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn says she sees no conflict of interest in accepting campaign contributions from the head of a company that was applying to her office for a license to sell insurance.
Community Health Plan of Washington received its license last week to be a health-care-services contractor.
Senn said Friday that the company’s chief executive, Dennis Braddock, is a longtime friend. She said she took money from him prior to last week because without a license CHP was simply an organization of health clinics, and her office had no role in regulating it.
Senn said she won’t take any more money from Braddock in keeping with her personal ban on insurance-related contributions.
“I regulate his agency now, and now I don’t take contributions from him or his agency,” she said.
Braddock, a former Democratic legislator who was chairman of the House Health Care Committee, has given Senn $770 in the past 14 months. He also sponsored a Bellingham fund-raiser for Senn’s re-election campaign.
Three of the five contributions were accepted while Senn’s Company Supervision Division was reviewing Community Health Plan’s license application.
“I don’t think anybody really feels you can buy an insurance license for a few hundred bucks,” Braddock said Friday.
Senn said she wasn’t aware of the details of Braddock’s dealings with her office and sees no conflict in taking his contributions.
“It’s just not a problem,” she said. “What is it that looks suspicious? … The big question is whether these guys met the requirements of the statute, which they did.”
Braddock said he, too, didn’t consider his firm an insurance company until the license was granted.
“I said to her when she gave me
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