Emails reveal no love for AG

INTRO TEXT The attorney general’s office and the governor’s insurance commissioner often disagree, but a public records request earlier this year showed that the squabbling gets nasty at times.

Glenn Kaplan, the head of Coakley’s Insurance and Financial Services Division, sent a letter of protest to Insurance Commissioner Nonnie Burnes, arguing that she was giving preferential treatment to Progressive Insurance, the nation’s third-largest insurer and a new entrant to the Massachusetts market. Burnes fired back that Coakley’s office had it all wrong. The dispute might have ended there, but Coakley’s aides raised their concerns with Gov. Deval Patrick’s office. A flurry of e-mails followed.

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Gabrielle Gurley

Senior Associate Editor, CommonWealth

About Gabrielle Gurley

Gabrielle covers several beats, including mass transit, municipal government, child welfare, and energy and the environment. Her recent articles have explored municipal hiring practices in Pittsfield, public defender pay, and medical marijuana, and she has won several national journalism awards for her work. Prior to coming to CommonWealth in 2005, Gabrielle wrote for the State House News Service, The Boston Globe, and other publications. She launched her media career in broadcast journalism with C-SPAN in Washington, DC. The Philadelphia native holds degrees from Boston College and Georgetown University.

About Gabrielle Gurley

Gabrielle covers several beats, including mass transit, municipal government, child welfare, and energy and the environment. Her recent articles have explored municipal hiring practices in Pittsfield, public defender pay, and medical marijuana, and she has won several national journalism awards for her work. Prior to coming to CommonWealth in 2005, Gabrielle wrote for the State House News Service, The Boston Globe, and other publications. She launched her media career in broadcast journalism with C-SPAN in Washington, DC. The Philadelphia native holds degrees from Boston College and Georgetown University.

Joseph Murphy, the first deputy insurance commissioner, suggested that he took a bullet for his colleagues by meeting with members of the attorney general’s staff. “Yes, we spared you the pain,” he said in an e-mail. Daniel Crane, the undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, commiserated with Burnes about the attorney general’s end-around, saying “it appears we have embarked on a new era of ‘communication’ until the next ambush.” In another message, Crane complained to Burnes and Dan O’Connell, the secretary of housing and economic development, that first assistant attorney general David Friedman “and his gang at the AG’s office” is “trying to drive a wedge between Nonnie and the governor’s staff.” He even called the timing of another Friedman communication “SNEAKY!!!”

Spokeswomen for the two offices declined comment.