EXPOSED: 'Climate crusader' California governor Jerry Brown took huge sums of money from "big oil"

Gov. Jerry Brown talks with Richard Alley just feet away from me.

Gov. Jerry Brown talks with Richard Alley (who was about to give a climate doom talk) just feet away from me. At AGU 13. If I knew then what I know now, I would have called him out personally right then and there.

From the “color of political slimebags is green” department. Note to readers: Show this to some idiot Internet heckler the next time you are accused of “being in the pay of big oil” for having an opinion on climate.

Here are two instances worth noting, but there are plenty more:

  • The report says that in November 2011, former governor Gray Davis — by then a lawyer for Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum Corp. — pressured Brown to fire two oil and gas regulators the company felt were slow to grant injection well permits for hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Two months later, Oxy contributed $250,000 to Brown’s Proposition 30 tax increase initiative, and shortly after that gave $100,000 to a pet Brown charity, the Oakland Military Institute. This surely looks like old-fashioned pay-to-play, and boosting “fracking” as well. Maybe he’s allowing fracking because the money is just too good.
  • The report shows that in June 2013, tough regulations were dropped from Senate Bill 4, a bill intended to restrict “fracking”. The same day, Chevron Corporation gave $135,000 to the Democratic Party. Several months later, Chevron wrote the party a $350,000 check and a week later, the party put $300,000 into Brown’s re-election campaign fund. On the same day, Chevron plunked $54,400 (the legal maximum) into Brown’s election coffer.

Pay to play; despite telling the world how tough on climate he is at the Paris accord, he’s been on the take with money from “big oil”. The slimage is strong with this one. And, let’s not forget, Brown is an idiot who thinks Los Angeles airport would be underwater soon, then got called out on it for its impossibility. I blame Richard Alley’s AGU talk, which was pandering directly to Brown.

Here is the press release and report on “Brown’s Dirty Hands”:


Consumer Watchdog Report Finds Big Energy Companies Gave Big $ and Got Big Favors From Governor Brown With Dollars and Decisions Flowing In Close Proximity To Each Other

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Public interest group Consumer Watchdog today reported that twenty-six energy companies including the state’s three major investor-owned utilities, Occidental, Chevron, and NRG—all with business before the state—donated $9.8 million to Jerry Brown’s campaigns, causes, and initiatives, and to the California Democratic Party since he ran for Governor. Donations were often made within days or weeks of winning favors. The three major investor-owned utilities alone contributed nearly $6 million.

An exhaustive review of campaign records, publicly-released emails and other documents at PUCPapers.org, court filings, and media reports, shows that Brown personally intervened in regulatory decisions favoring the energy industry, and points to Brown and his operatives having used the Democratic Party as a political slush fund to receive contributions from unpopular energy companies in amounts greater than permitted to his candidate committee. Between 2011 and 2014, the energy companies tracked by Brown’s Dirty Hands donated $4.4 million to the Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party gave $4.7 million to Brown’s re-election. Earmarking to the Democratic Party is illegal. Consumer Watchdog is forwarding its report to the Fair Political Practices Commission.

“The timing of energy industry donations around important legislation and key pro-industry amendments, as well as key regulatory decisions in which Brown personally intervened, raises troubling questions about whether quid pro quos are routine for this administration,” said consumer advocate Liza Tucker, author of the report, Brown’s Dirty Hands. “While Brown paints himself as a foe of fossil fuels, his Administration promoted reckless oil drilling, burning dirty natural gas to make electricity, and used old hands from industry and government, placed in key regulatory positions, to protect the fossil fuel-reliant energy industry.”

Download Brown’s Dirty Hands at www.consumerwatchdog.org/dirtyhands

View a video on the report here:

Evidence strongly suggests that the timing of certain donations may have elicited or rewarded legislative or regulatory action on behalf of these companies. Among the most egregious examples detailed in the report:

  • Southern California Edison donated $130,000 to the California Democratic Party, its largest contribution up until that time, on the same day PUC President Michael Peevey cut a secret deal with an SCE executive in Warsaw, Poland to make ratepayers cover 70 percent of the $4.7 billion cost to close the fatally flawed San Onofre nuclear plant. Brown backed the dirty deal, telling Edison’s CEO personally, according to an email from the CEO uncovered by the Public Records Act, that he was willing to tell the media on the day of the plant’s shuttering that the company was acting responsibly and focused on the right things. Three days prior to SCE’s announcement that it would close San Onofre permanently, the company donated $25,000 to the California Democratic Party.
  • Emails from PG&E’s top lobbyist Brian Cherry to his boss claim that Brown personally intervened with a PUC Commissioner to persuade him to approve a natural gas-fired power plant called Oakley for the utility. In a January 1, 2013email, Cherry described a New Year’s Eve dinner with Peevey where Peevey reminded him “how he and Governor Brown used every ounce of persuasion to get [Commissioner Mark] Ferron to change his mind and vote for Oakley…Jerry’s direct plea was decisive.” PG&E donated $20,000 to the California Democratic Party the day after the PUC voted for the project. An appeals court would later strike down the decision because PG&E had not proved its necessity.
  • While PG&E’s lobbyist and then-PUC President Michael Peevey fed names to Brown’s executive secretary, former PG&E vice president Nancy McFadden, to appoint the critical swing-vote PUC commissioner who would cast pro-utility votes, PG&E donated $75,000 to the California Democratic Party. The same day that Brown appointed ex-banker Mark Ferron to the commission, PG&E donated another $41,500. The appointment lifted the value of PG&E’s stock and the PG&E stock held by McFadden and valued as high as $1 million.
  • Chevron donated $135,000 to the California Democratic Party the same day lawmakers exempted a common method of well stimulation from legislation meant to regulate fracking. After the bill passed with an amendment dropping a moratorium on fracking permits, Occidental gave $100,000 to one of Brown’s favorite causes, the Oakland Military Institute. Brown signed the weakened bill. On December 23, 2013, Chevron donated $350,000 to the Democratic Party. OnDecember 30, the Democratic Party donated $300,000 to Brown for Governor 2014, while Chevron donated the maximum to Brown’s campaign, $54,400, on the same day. Less than two months later, Brown came out publicly to oppose a proposed oil severance tax. The weakened fracking bill also helped Nancy McFadden who held up to $100,000 in Linn Energy that would acquire Berry Petroleum and its 3,000 California fracking wells.
  • Occidental’s attorney, former Governor Gray Davis, successfully pressured Brown to fire two oil and gas regulators who wouldn’t grant oil waste injection permits without proof that aquifers would not be contaminated. Two months later, when Brown’s new interim oil and gas supervisor granted Occidental a permit without an environmental review, Occidental contributed $250,000 to Prop 30, Brown’s ballot measure to raise taxes, then another $100,000 two weeks later to his favored Oakland Military Institute. Seven months later, Occidental made a second $250,000 donation to Prop 30.
  • Brown’s climate change bill, SB 350, gave utilities a monopoly on electric vehicle infrastructure and large-scale renewable energy projects by excluding rooftop solar from the state’s renewable portfolio standard. Three weeks after a last-minute amendment granting utilities access to a regional grid, PG&E donated $80,000 to the Democratic Party. The utility donated another $50,000 three weeks after the bill was chaptered. Utility stocks increased by at least 14 percent within two months.
  • Power plant developer NRG wasn’t a Brown donor until the company cut a sweetheart deal with the PUC to settle the state’s case over its 2001 electricity price manipulation, touted as a win by the Governor’s office. Rather than paying back the state, the company was allowed to spend $100 million of its $120 million fine to build electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Two months later, NRG began donations to Brown, his causes, and his party that would come to $105,000. A lawsuit against the PUC, filed by electric charging station competitor Ecotality, called the deal illegal because it awarded a monopoly to an out-of-state company.
  • Lawmakers sent Brown a package of six PUC reform bills in 2015 which would have increased oversight, transparency and accountability at the PUC, and received unanimous, bipartisan support. Brown vetoed the reform bills on October 12, 2015. One week later, PG&E donated $50,000 to the Democratic Party. In December, PG&E donated another $175,000 to the Party.

Brown’s top staffers—Executive Secretary Nancy McFadden and former Cabinet Secretary Dana Williamson—both former PG&E executives, were paid roughly $100,000 each by the California Democratic Party for consulting and fundraising services at various times between 2013 and 2016.

Jerry Brown’s family and other personal ties to industry insiders also appear to play a role in his Administration’s decisions to promote the interests of the utilities and the oil and gas industry at the expense of consumers.

Brown’s sister, Kathleen, was given a seat on Sempra’s board of directors in June 2013, just as lawmakers amended fracking legislation to drop a moratorium on fracking permits.  As of April 2016, Kathleen Brown had earned $691,300 for her board service at Sempra, parent company of Southern California Gas which is responsible for the massive Aliso Canyon natural gas well blowout that caused the biggest methane leak in U.S. history.  Governor Brown issued an emergency order that ensured secrecy around the blowout investigation, has waged a campaign through his energy regulators to keep Aliso open and has kept information and data involving the blowout secret from the public. Sempra stock has increased by 116% since Brown took office, more than any other utility.

Kathleen Brown also served on the board of real estate and oil company Forestar Group—which owns 700 acres next to Porter Ranch, a community drastically affected by the leak, where Forestar plans to build luxury homes, and another 1,000 acres of oil and gas interests in California. Kathleen holds $749,000 worth of Forestar stock. She now sits on the board of Renew Financial, a private funder of renewable energy projects that stands to benefit from SB 350. She stepped down from Forestar one month after Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency at Aliso Canyon.

Governor Brown supported, appointed and hired a group of old hands from previous administrations and the energy industry that have played a role in policies promoting the fossil-fuel natural gas system. Brown’s Dirty Hands details how the revolving door of industry insiders, including former PUC President Michael Peevey, now under criminal investigation for corruption at the PUC, was supported and installed by Brown and his top aides.  The report details crucial moments for the energy industry contributors through the Administration’s course and how Brown sided with them.

The report is released just as ratepayers dodged a bullet in the last month of the legislative session in Sacramento, where the legislature stalled for the year efforts by Brown and his hands to enact a Western regional grid and federalize energy regulation in California.

94 thoughts on “EXPOSED: 'Climate crusader' California governor Jerry Brown took huge sums of money from "big oil"

    • I’m ready to write letters to editors aplenty extolling the virtues of fracking.
      Who do I contact at Big Oil for the payoleum ??
      g

    • Tom Halla
      Who knows, but it’s sure open to question. Geez – 6-figure bribes/contributions within hours of the political deed.
      Tom, you’re really ok with that?

      • No, and that is one of the reasons I left California. Recyling a failure like Moonbeam is so typical of California politics, along with “fetcher bill” regulations.

      • Tom
        I took your initial statement as supportive of Brown (not your intended sarcasm); apologies are in order…

    • And that is why loads of Northern Californians, regardless of party affiliation, don’t. like. Brown. He’s a major force driving the State of Jefferson movement. Nobody up here likes him much unless they stand to profit from one of his disastrous projects painted green like the delta tunnels.

    • The only thing we need saving from is Brown and his pals. He’s been pushing projects for decades that were not, are not, and will never be good ideas.

  1. As if any of them actually believe in CAGW. No wonder they want to throw us in jail, it might interfer with their payola.
    ” absolute power corrupts, absolutely “

    • I think you’ve hit the nail fair & square on the head and drove it all the way in with one hit!

  2. trivia:
    moonbeam was mayor of oakland when the affirmative action employees of the oakland school district invented ebonics to excuse abject incompetence and failure.

    • The idea of “Ebonics” goes back about twenty years before that to the early ’70s and was an “academic” idea mainly intended to simplify the discussion of Black American dialects since the common term in use was a true pain to to try using. If you had training in linguistics, the idea has its attractions, since the dialect is as distinct as Appalchian English and has interesting features that are no longer common in the pauperized English we tend to speak these days.
      Oakland schools were just the first time the idea surfaced politically. It was used, as you say, as an excuse for why schools in poor Black neighborhoods performed so poorly. Brown had nothing to with it and doesn’t have the intelligence to have a clue about linguistics at that level. If he thought it would generate votes form him, he would support it.

      • oh, sure – pidgins and creoles are in the province of linguistics.
        the idea of presenting the 3 Rs in pidgin English originated as described and is absurd.
        the fact that such an excuse was presented is the result of moonbeam (and others’) philosophies as they play out in the real world.
        the fact that such an excuse was found acceptable is the result of the relativism that’s the hallmark of the educational philosophy as it plays out in the real world.
        the fact that it wasn’t stomped on and squashed by people outraged at the offensive stupidity is the consequence of years of the same philosophy as it plays out in the real world.
        moonbeam is the figurehead on the prow of the ship of state that is california.
        if you want your children to study English Literature from a teacher speaking pidgin- if you want windmills for power – if you want bay area rapid transit to replace automobiles at a cost of 5000$ per passenger mile –
        you’ll love the moonbeam.

      • Duster
        “If he thought it would generate votes [for] him, he would support it.”
        Or
        If (s)he thought it would generate votes [for] him/her, (s)he would support it.
        AKA Politics as ‘normal’.
        Is it not?
        Save for a few.
        Our fragrant Corbyn [Jeremy, not his brother, Piers, of the ‘meteorology parish’] espouses political virginity. Which means no votes, no MPs, no power [look, for example, at the Lib Dems].
        Auto
        Looking to be enthused by the deeds – rather than the words – of Mrs. May

    • gnomish August 17, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      trivia:
      moonbeam was mayor of oakland when the affirmative action employees of the oakland school district invented ebonics to excuse abject incompetence and failure.

      trivia: gnomish is usually wrong, and often wildly wrong as in this case. The term “ebonics” was invented in 1973. Jerry Brown, or “Governor Moonbeam” as he is known, was first elected Mayor of Oakland in 1998.
      w.

      • you’re such an old fool. lookin so hard for a smackdown…
        i never said the word was invented by brown
        but i’m not repeating myself.
        why don’t you.

      • gnomish August 18, 2016 at 9:23 am

        i never said the word was invented by brown

        Nor did I. But you did say:

        moonbeam was mayor of oakland when the affirmative action employees of the oakland school district invented ebonics to excuse abject incompetence and failure.

        This was arrant and demonstrable nonsense, as “ebonics” was invented in the 1970s and Brown didn’t become mayor until 1998.
        That statement of yours, of course, was what I quoted and was referring to, and it is that same untruth of yours that you’re futilely trying to distract us from …
        w.

      • you should hang on every word i say.
        if you need a life – it’s the easiest way.
        you were clever enough to pass the audition
        and even the least of us needs a mission.
        thank you for letting me be a part of it.
        and even- oh joy! the beating heart of it.
        maybe when i get very old and stupid.
        i can become a troll – like you did.
        by your gaslight i can clearly see
        you’re a more authoritative authority on me – than me!
        no time for workin when your brain is twerkin.
        and somebody is lurkin whom you can’t ignore
        this awesome dedication to your quest for validation
        is a perfect illustration of ‘attention whore’.
        but i hope you’ve covered your bets
        for you will never be
        the greek who bears the gift of tourettes
        or the priapus of punditry.
        you’re just senile and malevolent, mister
        did somebody drop a house on your sister?
        frankly, scarlet – this is fun.
        muahaha muo ho ho and a couple of muee hee hees
        that’s how we pass the day away putting dung in the dungarees!
        i’ll set the standard. see if you can keep up.

    • Well California citizens didn’t even complain when he illegally ran for governor for more than the two terms allowed by California’s Constitution, and if I’m not mistaken he then ran again illegally for a fourth term and nobody complained.
      And don’t give me any guff about the two terms he had legally before the Constitution(of the State) was amended simply didn’t ever happen as far as the law goes.
      G

    • I can tell you your blog is not telling the truth, but do I have to mean it? Because I’d be wrong if I had to mean it…

    • No doubt there – ‘Big Oil’ is just one part of ‘Big Energy’ – as in the biggest green investors on the planet. AND if you follow the incestuous liasons between their ownership of major media outlets – and the cross-marriages between these media outlets and their spouses in congress… well, it explains a lot.
      Follow the money. And it doesn’t hurt to pay attention to who’s sleeping with who.

      • Just hope you guys dd a few searches at http://www.rbf.org Like check whether Green Peace, Sierra Club, 350.org is among the recipients.
        These people, on the same website, state quite clearly they are proponents of social change. Although they list some great sounding examples of the proosed changes, I leave you to think or research what actual changes they mean.
        Cheers
        Roger

  3. No wonder he focuses on Antarctica for the blame game on rising seas. There are no donors there.

  4. I always wondered why Moonbeam returned to politics. I guess it beats working for a living.

  5. Even with all that graft, I think he is preferable than Kathleen Wynne, California, want to trade?

  6. The left won’t care. He’s a hypocrite where his base understands that the ends justifies the means, a concept Saul Allinsky espoused.
    He is judged by aggregate performance on the REAL left agenda of wealth redistribution and socialism.
    Provided he enrolls more people on food stamps, houses more illegal aliens, hires anyone but white males, promotes ab0rti0n on demand, taxes the rich, legalizes dope, and generally makes California a province of China, the left wing individual won’t care one bit.
    Hypocrisy is a valued characteristic of the left.
    The green agenda is simply a means to accomplish wealth redistribution… so if he does it with big oil, or lines his pockets with coal coated gold bricks the people of San Fransico will be ever so forgiving.
    eg Hillary, Marion Barry, Robert Byrd (KKK member)
    the endless list…
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2029856/posts
    Anthony, you judge Jerry from your own moral framework.

      • It may be a wondrous and tempting gift to be able to step away from ones boundaries such to empathize with ones adversaries and anticipate their POVs. We live in a moral flatland. The evil that we deal with move freely in 3D and manifest in our world in surprising ways to which we have difficulty relating. Sometimes I am pleased with my naivete. I don’t feel dirty when I am fooled by evil people. Jerry Brown? He doesn’t even know that he is covered in excrement. (Caveat… peccavi)

    • Paul,
      “The green agenda is simply a means to accomplish wealth redistribution… ”
      I believe that too is just a false-front . . I mean, unless you mean redistribution of wealth into the hands of some who wish to establish global governance, they control.
      You can’t rule the world if you don’t rule the US, and you can’t rule the US if the Constitution remains the ultimate Law of the land. That’s the real target, I believe.
      In that regard, I feel it is wise to drop the talk of “sincere” redistribution of wealth . . for that talk is extremely useful for enlisting many useful . . non-geniuses. I suggest ALWAYS tacking on some mention of the ultimate goal, which sure as hell ain’t the hyper-wealthy sociopaths behind this assault handing their wealth and [power over to some dorky socialist ideologues, it seems clear to me.

      • John,
        You seem thoughtful. As you know, at its heart, socialism ain’t really socialism is it? It is simply another control scheme to displace elites for a more brutal brand of elites. My brevity sacrificed precision and scope. You know 19th and 20th century history….

      • Yeah, I’m just trying to remind that many people don’t realize how precious what our Founders left us really is . . and so are vulnerable to con artists who can make “redistribution of wealth” sound like a great deal. It’s bait now, essentially, as far as I can tell, not the foolishness of sincere ideologues, if ever it was.

      • Yeah, Mark, it’s my dim recollection that jerry and linda had a fling back in the day. I was hoping my reminder would have someone (or two) fill me in on the details…

  7. Just a chip off the old block….My employer and I sat in his father’s (Edmund Brown) law office in Beverly Hills years ago, whereupon, my boss made a donation to Jerry’s early political career. This donation came from a Multiemployer Trust Fund, and was not legal. My boss and the Brown didn’t care…just water under the bridge. The trust fund eventually collapsed, leaving members owing thousands of dollars to various entities. I have detested the political arena since that early event. I was naïve to say the least.

    • Knew a fellow once who hung out at the Toastmaster’s club in Hollywood a place for the mob and starlets to get to know another. Word around there in the fifties was if you wanted a judicial appointment then Ed Brown Sr. was going to need 20 K

  8. Out there, there has to be an honourable climate alarmist, surely?
    Any nominations, because I can’t think of one.

  9. Governor Jerry Brown is not the only climate change politician in the pay of big oil.
    The Saudis own Hillary too.

    • Hillary’s got owners everywhere in the world there’s money. Brown is a two-bit crook compared to her.

  10. The real question is how much of the “environmental” movement is powered by dollars from malignant interests? We occasionally see a flash like the algore payoff for his tv network.

    • Although it was fun to watch the market value sink like a cement canary.
      Of course, by then their check to Al had cleared the bank (but not by much).

  11. What’s the big deal? It’s obvious that Trenberthian ethics apply here. Oil money given to AGW supporters: good. Oil money given to AGW skeptics: bad.
    By his lights, Jerry has committed no sins. His heart’s in the right place, so money is purified as soon as it enters his grasp.

  12. At least it’s for big bucks. Years ago Texas Gov John Connelly was accused of taking a $10K bribe. His response was he wouldn’t even get out of bed for $10K.

  13. This sounds like “dog bites man” stuff here. There is somewhere in the neighbourhood of $US 1.5 Trillion every single year sloshing around the Global Warming and Big Enviro industry. Governor Moonbeam extracted only a small slice of that amount.

  14. I love it when someone makes a pile of dough out of fossil fuels…Tom Steyer, Jerry Brown, whoever. I love that Germany has expanded its coal production (and kept its nukes humming).
    I just don’t get the preaching against fossil fuels by those who depend most on fossil fuels. When Di Caprio wants to celebrate New Years in three times zones on the same day he doesn’t row from one zone to the other, does he?
    By the way, could someone tell me how to get corrupted? I constantly praise Australian coal, even describing it as chocolate sunshine with an aroma of freshly brewed Lapsang Souchong…and still no check from Big Black, or even a thank you.
    I feel like the loose glamour girl who’s bonking around for free.

    • mosomoso,
      I don’t know, but if you find out will you take me with you (or at least tell me the secret)? Trying to live a relatively honest, law-abiding life and pass my values onto my kids has left me kind of broke and frustrated.

    • …and GE
      WSJ today….
      GE Wants to Bring More Life to Coal
      After playing down fuel’s future, group chases rising demand in India and Southeast Asia
      “We expect a quite-stable if not increasing amount of installations in coal,” said Andreas Lusch, the chief executive of GE’s steam-power-systems business, who came over to the company in the Alstom deal.

  15. I figure that with all the various taxes, government (federal,state,local) takes more per gallon of oil/gasoline than ‘big oil’ manages to keep for themselves.
    This means that ‘big oil’ money goes to each and every environmentalist, who gets a government grant, is taking money from ‘big oil’.

  16. This is a very old story with Moonbeam but it’s worse than you thought! Right from the get go when he was governor the FIRST time and Grey Davis was his aide Jerry brown brought down “strictest in the nation” pollution controls which limited the grade of petroleum that could be used to start refining from to produce fuel for California. The law firm exclusively in charge of letting the contracts from Pertamina, the Indonesian dictatorship’s oil company that provided the lion’s share of supply was… wait for it ..corrupt old Pat Brown Sr. The entire Brown family fortune is based on crooked oil deals and an incestuous relationship with the Manatt law firm in Los Angeles whose partners reads like a who’s who in the Democratic National Committee for forty years.

  17. Californians live by the mindset which led them to elect this man. Let them live out the consequences of their own thinking. By their suffering, maybe they’ll catch on.

    • Problem is they are leaving California and moving north to escape the lunacy, but end up here in our northern states voting the same way the did in California and ruining our way of life. Stay away! Donald, don’t build a wall on the southern border, build a wall around California!

  18. Now I am beginning to understand the Democratic party plank condemning frakking. Just a prelude to a shakedown. If the dems win, frakking will go on; but the appropriate “protection money” will have to be paid out as campaign contributions to the democratic party. Simple.

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