Newsom’s casual relationship with top lobbyists showcased at French laundry dinner party






Government Gavin Newsome speaks during the California Democratic Party State Organizing Convention on June 1, 2019, in San Francisco. | Jeff Chiu / AP Photo

San Francisco – Not every political operator can celebrate his or her 50th birthday with the governor of America’s most populous state during the epidemic.

Not every political director is Jason Kinney.

Government of California. Gavin Newsom faces a brutal backlash for his decision to attend a celebration for Kinney on November 6 at French Laundry, a bucket list-level food icon in Neene County. After the private dinner was exposed by the San Francisco Chronicle, Newsom said that while the outside meal did not violate coronovirus restrictions, they showed poor judgment in attending. He reiterated that point in a public apology on Monday, stating that it is against the spirit of state regulations as coronoviruses spread throughout California.

While the food sparked criticism of Newsom’s coronavirus management, with the governor accusing him of hypocrisy, it leads to a brighter spotlight on Kinney and the double conflict he faces in the insular world of California politics.

The California Democratic Politics Fixer has long had a hand in both election-winning campaigns and influential policy. He was the lead speech writer for the village. Gray Davis served for years as a senior strategist for the Senate Democrats and politically counseled Newsom for a long time. He continues to advise Newsome on politics, even working on his lucrative, newly launched lobbying firm Bills that may land on Newsom’s desk.

Kinney is not the first California political faction to blur the line between politics and policy. The doors between the campaign, administration and Sacramento’s lobbying corps are open to those seeking long-term contact and experience.

He said, “He has some deep roots in government.” Like any successful lobbyist, he uses them to his advantage because he is smart, ”said Steve Mavigilio, a Democratic operative who has worked for the California government and interest groups who want to dominate it. “Any special interest hires the best talent they get and that was the decision they made with Jason.”

The governor and Kinney have a decades-old relationship. In apologizing for being present, Newsom on Monday referred to Kinney as “a friend I’ve known for almost 20 years.”

But the fact is that Kinney, a registered lobbyist, got an intimate audience with Newsom, which immediately raised questions about a conflict of interest. Newsom stated that it paid its meals, so it did not qualify as lobbying payments.

“Newsome has to bend over backwards and do her no favors,” said Bob Stern, the architect of California’s campaign finance laws. “People now want to see what Newsney does in terms of Kinney clients.”

While Kinney worked on Newsom’s transition team and continues to counsel the governor, he has also launched Axiom Advisors, a lobbying shop whose client list includes California’s key players who spend heavily to influence state policy We do. Axiom began lobbying for $ 10.9 million in 2019-20, during which Newsom was governor.

Some of Axiom’s clients highlight Kinney’s overlapping roles. Kidney dialysis firm DaVita and Fresenius paid Axiom $ 475,000 this season. During the same period, Kinney earned $ 90,000 from the California Democratic Party, spending money to pass labor-backed initiatives that control cancerous disease. DaVita and Fresenius were major rivals of the measure.

Not all Axiom clients are major corporations; Some people are desperate to go to the governor to survive. Theme parks are trying to get the Governor’s ear this year to reopen the attraction during coronoviruses. Three small amusement park operators – the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, San Diego Coaster Company and Santa Monica Amusements – hired Auxom on October 1, just as Newsom officials were discussing reopening the rules. The state finally issued guidelines last month that allowed boardwalks and other small parks to operate, although recent coronovirus growth has forced the ride to be discontinued again.

Marathon Petroleum has been the highest remuneration client for Axiom over the past two years, giving the Kinney firm $ 525,000 in business. Marathon is a member of a powerful oil industry organization that struggles with proposals to ban hydraulic fracturing; Newsom summoned him to the Legislature earlier this year and sent him a faked ban.

“There is something so powerful about this luxury dinner story that Newsom risked the lives of Californians, violating their Kovid recommendations to party with the same oil lobby,” Center for Climate Law’s Center for Biological Diversity Said director Casey Siegel. , Which plans to sue the state for issuing oil and gas permits. “There are so many ways that ordinary people are facing such incredible pain,” he said, “and it just reflects the hypocrisy of having to party with an oil lobbyist in the middle of it.” This is just unforgivable. “

This will not be the first time Kinney has faced scrutiny for her work. In 2013, the California Fair Political Practice Commission fined Kinney $ 12,000 for failing to disclose lobbying activity, despite communicating with legalists on behalf of a developer.

After Kenney served as a spokesperson for Proposition 64, the 2016 news-champion ballots took the initiative to legalize recreational cannabis use, with major cannabis companies hiring Kinney’s political firm. Some critics accepted this as an example of cashing in on internal influence, with cannabis companies giving their connections to the future governor with the possibility of patronizing Kinney.

An Axiom spokesperson from Kinney made no comment for this story.

Despite widespread condemnation of Newsome’s presence at the dinner, many lobbyists and strategists said Kinney could still benefit. Conflict-by-interest aside, this episode shows that Kinney has sustained Newsome’s ear during her extremely limited in-person access to the people in power. There was discussion this weekend among lobbyists about how Kinney could not ask for a better advertisement of his close ties with Newsom.

“All publicity is good publicity,” Maviglio said, and reporting on the dinner revealed his presence in Newsom’s inner circle. This is very important for many of Sacramento’s interests. I worked with Jason for five years, and had a lot of negative stories on it, and he’s doing quite well. “

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