California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is facing some troubling accusations.
Fox News reports that an investigation has found that, over the course of last year, Newsom’s campaign donors managed to secure billions of dollars in state contracts.
The investigation has been conducted by OpenTheBooks, which is a government transparency group.
OpenTheBook found that, in 2021, some 979 state vendors that contributed to Newsom’s political campaigns received over $6 billion in contracts from the state of California. The 979 state vendors have given Newsom about $11 million since 2010.
The state contracts were for such things as health care, utility, and telecom, among others.
Although 979 state vendors were identified as beneficiaries of state contracts by OpenTheBooks, most of the state contract money went to just 30 vendors. OpenTheBooks’ audit, in fact, found that the top 30 vendors received over $5 billion in contracts during 2021. And, these top 30 vendors had given Newsom’s political campaigns over $1.5 million.
One example is Anthem Blue Cross. It gave Newsom’s campaign about $70,000, and, in 2021, it received $844 million in state contracts.
Is that legal?
At the moment, the answer appears to be “yes.” The likelihood is that this sort of thing has been and continues to take place throughout the United States.
But, OpenTheBook is hoping that its findings will change this situation, at least in California. OpenTheBooks is calling for “statewide, pay-to-play prohibition.”
“Major corporations with quasi-state monopolies in their given industries are recycling millions of their profit dollars back into the politicians,” OpenTheBooks said. “This practice is legal in California today, but that doesn’t mean the public will find it ethical.”
Similarly, OpenTheBooks founder Adam Andrzejewski put out a statement saying:
Major California corporations entrenched with public-private marketplace monopolies are recycling a portion of their profits back into political donations to Newsom. Although legal at arm’s length, the pattern is troubling, and many people across the spectrum will find it highly unethical.
Newsom has, through a spokesperson, released a statement responding to the allegations. As would be expected, he admitted no wrongdoing. “The state makes all contracting decisions based on the best interests of the state and its residents,” the spokesperson said.