(NOQReport) – Share the truth 2020 saw the rise of a viable recall effort against California Governor Gavin Newsom. His detractors have been able to accumulate over 1.5 million signatures and seem to have time to make sure they have enough to trigger a recall election before the March deadline. But with all the signs pointing to 2020 being disastrous for Newsom, the ledgers on his various non-profits and pet projects skyrocketed. Now we know why.
Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill took to Facebook this weekend to expose the Governor’s use of “behested payments.” The practice, which is legal but highly questionable in transparency and accountability circles, can be used to generate tremendous amounts of donations for projects and non-profits “preferred” by politicians. When O’Neill compared the behested payments made by major companies to Newsom’s pet projects to the no-bid or sole-source contracts awarded by the state, a very ugly trend becomes apparent. Here’s what O’Neill wrote on Facebook :
Imagine that you run a large company and the Governor of the nation’s largest state asks you to donate to a cause he cares about. Seems like a shakedown, right? Nope, perfectly legal. It’s called a “behested payment.”
Donations over $5k have to be reported. As opposed to political donations, there are no caps on behested payments.
For example, Qatar donated $5 million to a nonprofit LA Mayor Garcetti references often last year. Spontaneous kindness? Not so much. It’s only a behested payment if it’s done at the behest of a public official.
$5mm might sound like a lot. Until you get to Gavin Newsom.
In 2019, before he had god-like emergency powers to bestow no-bid contracts worth billions, he reported only $12mm in behested payments.
In 2020, individuals and organizations reported $226 million (!!!) in payments at Newsom’s behest.
Take a look at some of them. Blue Shield of California and Kaiser donated $45mm. They were both awarded no-bid contracts for vaccine distribution. And Blue Shield’s CEO was co-chair of CA’s task force on COVID-19 testing.
Verily Life Sciences (formerly Google Life Sciences; Google donated $7mm in ad credits) has received up to $44mm in three different contracts from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to operate COVID-19 testing sites.
What about straight political donations? An NPR-affiliate in Sacramento conducted that analysis too.
UnitedHealth has donated $220k in 2018-19 to political committees controlled by Newsom. During the pandemic, Newsom has awarded $492mm in contracts to UnitedHealth subsidiaries in no-bid and expedited bidding situations.
Bloom Energy donated $85k in 2018-20 and received a $2mm no-bid contract.
BYD’s president donated $40k in 18/19 to Newsom and BYD received … $1 Billion+ for masks.
The former general counsel to the California Fair Political Practices Commission (a registered Democrat) said that “the governor has a tin ear in terms of receiving huge campaign contributions and providing sole-source contracts for corporations that were giving him these contributions.”
“Tin ear” is one way of saying it. What would you call it?
CapRadio “Investigation: Big Newsom Donors – Including Blue Shield – Received No-Bid Contracts During COVID-19 Response” Reason “Donations ‘Requested’ by Newsom Exploded as His Emergency Powers Ballooned” CalMatters “The new thing for California politicians? Sweet charity” OC Register “Behested payments and the specter of corruption” Qatar donates to LA Mayor’s nonprofit Kevin Kiley “The Legislature Must Investigate Newsom”
The more we learn about Gavin Newsom, the clearer it becomes that he operates a corrupt and despicable operation that goes well beyond the Governor’s Office. Kudos to Will O’Neill for exposing him.