By Robbie Jaeger
Source: Ghion Journal
Here’s the thing: they’ve been doing it for a long time — right in front of us.
The history of SCRB/SCN is a complicated one, but it’s also a simple case study of the ethical dangers inherent in a system that allows private-sector consulting firms to simultaneously work for or represent elected officials AS WELL AS the corporations that would benefit the most from access to those officials.
In 2010, at the height of their influence and power, Pacific Gas & Electric executives donated $4,600 to Kamala Harris campaign for California Attorney General. At the time, PG&E was the largest power company in any state in the country. One can only assume, like every other conglomerate, they threw their money behind the candidate they believed would be least likely to disrupt their business interests.
Speaking of influence, there’s also the case of controversial former San Fransisco Mayor Willie Brown. Brown, a polarizing figure in his own right, recently penned an Op-Ed in the San Francisco Chronicle detailing a brief romantic relationship he claims he shared with Kamala Harris in the early 2000s.
In the piece, Brown claims he kickstarted her political career and increased her visibility by selecting her to serve on key committees and, among other things, generally boosting her profile in the circles that mattered. While most of the focus surrounding the story amounted to some version of Harris “sleeping her way to the top” (a lazy and disgusting take, in my opinion), that theory actually has little relevance when compared with the implications of Willie Brown’s other job . He lobbies for PG&E.
From the very beginning, PG&E seemed to have just as big an affinity for Kamala Harris as they did for Dianne Feinstein, the undisputed queen of California corporate political cash, and one of PG&E’s largest political beneficiaries (as she remains to this very day). Little did they know, they were going to need all the help — or as little resistance — as they could get.
On September 9, 2010, in San Bruno, CA, PG&E natural gas pipeline 132 exploded, sending a wall of fire reaching to the sky, killing 8 people and wounding more. It was a tragedy of negligence as the slow-churning investigations would reveal; corruption and greed had seemingly overrun the energy conglomerate at its highest levels. Civil inquiries and a joint State/Federal criminal investigation were opened, the litigation of which took…