Steve Poizner?s hefty telecommunications investments would prevent him from effectively serving on the California Public Utilities Commission, according to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). He bowed out of the nomination this week. Instead, he announced he will run for state insurance commissioner. Poizner was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger last December, along with Dian Grueneich, but he was not sworn in because his multimillion-dollar stock portfolio raised significant conflict-of-interest concerns (<i>Circuit<\/i>, March 11, 2005). Poizner stated April 6 he would no longer pursue membership on the CPUC. The day before, however, the appointment was effectively dead in the water following his announcement to the Assembly Republican Caucus that he was going to run for insurance commissioner. That announcement ensured that Democrats would not confirm his CPUC appointment. ?For three months, I have been doing everything possible to allow me to participate in most matters before the CPUC,? Poizner stated. He agreed to create a blind trust for his telecommunications investments in mutual funds, but that did not pass muster. The Fair Political Practices Commission advised him that he ?must review over 100 telecommunications stocks held by these independently managed private mutual funds before each vote,? Poizner said. A staff member for Michael Powell, the former chair of the Federal Communications Commission, is said to be under consideration as the replacement, according to a Capitol insider. The governor?s office said it would not speculate on possible candidates. According to Dan Pellissier, spokesperson for Assemblymember Keith Richman (R-Granada Hills), ?The word around here is that it was getting harder and harder to clear Poizner?s appointment.? If Poizner, founder of the cell phone company Snap Track, bought by Qualcomm, failed to divest his telecommunications investments, it could cause him to run up against conflict-of-interest rules at a time when the CPUC is locked in a battle over a consumer ?telecommunications bill of rights.? The fizzled appointment was not a big surprise to consumer advocates. ?It is unfortunate that the governor continues to look inside the industry to find appointments,? said Mindy Spatt, The Utility Reform Network spokesperson. ?Hopefully this will be an opportunity for the governor to appoint someone who understands the difficulties consumers face in an unregulated industry.?