(TargetLiberty.org) – California’s Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has a history of making the news for all of the wrong reasons. Experts say the company played a role in starting nearly 1,500 different blazes over a six-year period — including the devastating Camp Fire that killed over 80 people and destroyed Paradise, CA, in 2018. Now, a new report suggests Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA), of all people, may have helped them escape punishment for their crimes.
Newsom Accused of Protection Scheme
Reports show that PG&E contributed a significant amount of money to Newsom’s pre-2018 political campaign. But that alone isn’t what has many news outlets, reporters, and politicians so shocked. That feeling comes from what unfolded afterward.
According to confidential documents exclusively sourced by ABC10, Newsom took protective measures to shield the company from its role in a number of large-scale blazes. This includes the Camp Fire, for which it pleaded guilty to a shocking 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter in 2019.
The revealing documents show Newsom hired private lawyers to help him dream up legislation that would protect PG&E from facing the consequences of its actions. They include at least one early draft version of AB 1054.
That piece of legislation sought to develop a $21 billion bailout fund to save utilities from bankruptcy if they were implicated in local fires, as long as they were found to have “acted responsibly.”
The end result of AB 1054 was simple: it allowed PG&E, which had just been convicted of one of the worst crimes against humanity within the state, to obtain state safety certificates it probably wouldn’t have otherwise received. Rather, it all but absolved them of any responsibility for another two years from the original incident.
Shadowy Financial Connections and Gains
That Newsom helped craft the very bill that protected PG&E from the consequences of their own actions is concerning enough. But that’s far from where this sordid tale ends.
Documents suggest the governor hired O’Melveny Law Firm to help draft the law and create a second amendment to it after the fact. That “help” ended up costing California’s taxpayers nearly $3 million dollars, much of which came directly from tax coffers.
A second contributor, investment banking outfit Guggenheim, also aided Newsom in crafting the law, as did the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). In both instances, the governor’s attorneys were directly responsible for overseeing their contributions.
Guggenheim charged $3.7 million for its assistance. The CPUC, on the other hand, has refused to hand over proof of communications or quantify its individual stipend. The latter also waived millions of dollars worth of fines for PG&E in an effort to help it remain solvent.
Newsom directly benefited from PG&E’s support during his initial political campaign. In fact, the utility paid the governor a total of $208,400 — money that helped him to win the election. At the very least, his involvement with the company should have represented a conflict of interest. But, instead of handing the issue over to a neutral party, Newsom allegedly helped PG&E avoid accountability. If these findings accurate, that’s a betrayal few of the victims of the Camp Fire can accept.
Copyright 2021, TargetLiberty.org