‘Every dollar that PG&E spends on a campaign contribution right now is one they should be spending [on] a safer, more distributed electrical grid…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) California Gov. Gavin Newsom accused the Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the state’s largest utility company, of corruption, alleging the company intentionally built lower-quality electrical grids to save money, inadvertently triggering deadly wildfires in the region.
Ironically, Newsom has pocketed more than $700,000 from PG&E. The company’s foundation and several of its board members have donated thousands of dollars to his political campaigns and his wife’s foundation, according to The Washington Post.
Climate-change activists have accused PG&E of creating the conditions responsible for California’s deadly wildfires, and Newsom joined in the criticism of PG&E for handing out bonuses and dividends to its executives instead of investing more money in infrastructure upgrades.
“As it relates to PG&E, it’s about dog-eats-dog capitalism meeting climate change,” Newsom said last month, denouncing the “corporate greed” of the company, which filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and 2018.
Newsom refused to answer, however, when asked if he would return the political donations he had received from PG&E. “It’s a strange question,” he told ABC10. “I don’t know what more I can say.”
Records show that PG&E spent about $227,000 on Newsom’s political campaigns over the past two decades. And between 2011 and 2018, the company gave about $358,000 to a nonprofit managed by Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom.
Still, Newsom refused to admit he benefited from the company, which was convicted of six felonies after an explosion killed eight people.
Newsom claimed he “will not forgive them for not making the kind of investments in their equipment—hardening and undergrounding and anticipating this new reality, of which they have had ample time to anticipate.”
Some, however, said he was just as culpable as company executives since he also profited from their alleged corner-cutting measures.
Newsom should be held responsible for entertaining PG&E, said David Pomerantz, executive director fo the Energy and Policy Institute.
“Every dollar that PG&E spends on a campaign contribution right now is one they should be spending to hasten the transition to a safer, more distributed electrical grid,” Pomerantz said.