Joe Dunn (California politician)

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Joseph Lawrence Dunn (born September 5, 1958) is a Democratic former California State Senator who represented California's 34th Senate District in central Orange County.

Dunn was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and graduated from the College of St. Thomas and University of Minnesota Law School.[1][2]

As senator, Dunn led the state's investigation into Enron's involvement in the 2000–2001 energy crisis.[3] He was first elected to the state Senate in 1998, when he unseated incumbent Republican Rob Hurtt by a 51% to 49% margin. Dunn was reelected in 2002. He ran for the Democratic nomination for Controller in 2006 but lost by 53% to 47% to John Chiang, who would then go on to win the general.

In October 2006, Dunn was appointed as CEO of the California Medical Association.[4]

In 2010, Dunn was selected as the Executive Director of the State Bar of California.[5] On November 13, 2014, the State Bar issued a statement saying that Dunn's employment as Executive Director had been terminated by the Board of Trustees.[6] According to the Courthouse New Service, Dunn then filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the State Bar challenging the termination because he had exposed malfeasance and "egregious improprieties."[7][8][9] The State Bar denied Dunn's allegations, saying the "Board received a complaint from a high-level employee raising serious, wide-ranging allegations about ... Dunn and certain State Bar employees."[10][11] In January 2016, The Recorder released a report indicating that State Bar, while under Dunn's leadership, incurred excessive international travel expenses for trips to El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru and Mongolia.[12] Dunn's allegations against the State Bar were diverted to an arbitration proceeding under terms of his contract. In March of 2017, Arbitrator Edward Infante issued a ruling that exonerated the State Bar, which had said it fired Dunn in 2014 for misleading the agency’s board about critical policy matters.[13]

He is a founding partner of The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP, "a law and political consulting firm where [the founders]...exert a powerful influence on national and statewide issues."[14]


  1. ^ Jones, David (March 30, 2006). "Political Fortune: State Senator Joe Dunn". Capitol Weekly. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  2. ^ "Joe Dunn". Smart oter. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  3. ^ "Witness tells Senate Enron manipulated state's power market". Lodi News-Sentinel. April 12, 2002. p. 4. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  4. ^ Rauber, Chris (October 30, 2006). "CMA names state Sen. Joe Dunn as new CEO". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  5. ^ California State Bar News Release, September 20, 2010
  6. ^ "State Bar Trustees issue statement on Executive Director". State Bar of California. November 13, 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  7. ^ Dinzeo, Maria (November 13, 2014). "Sen. Dunn Files Whistleblower Action Against California State Bar". Courthouse New Service. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  8. ^ Skinner, Curtis (November 14, 2014). "Fired California Bar official files whistle-blower suit against group". Reuters. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  9. ^ Dolan, Maura (November 13, 2014). "Fired California bar official said he tried to expose wrongdoing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  10. ^ "State Board Issues Statement on Executive Director". State Bar of California. November 15, 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  11. ^ Moxley, R. Scott (November 15, 2014). "California State Bar Fires Back At Joe Dunn's Version Of His Sensational Termination". OC Weekly. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  12. ^ Miller, Cheryl (26 January 2016). "Joe Dunn, Bar Officials Spent Freely on Foreign Travel". The Recorder. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  13. ^ Walters, Dan (20 March 2017). "Joe Dunn loses arbitration over his firing by State Bar". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  14. ^ "Our History". The Senators Firm. Retrieved 14 March 2016.

External links[edit]

California Senate
Preceded by
Rob Hurtt
California State Senate, 34th District
Succeeded by
Lou Correa