By writer to www.ukiahdailyjournal.com
Twenty-two years in the past, on the day after Grey Davis was elected governor of California, I hopped aboard a Southwest Airways airplane sure for Los Angeles.
I used to be heading south for Davis’ morning-after press convention and I used to be not alone. A number of journalists and different Capitol figures have been on the airplane, together with the person sitting throughout the aisle, a lobbyist for public worker unions.
The lobbyist was in an ebullient temper as we chatted. His union purchasers had helped Davis climate a really tough patch in his 1998 marketing campaign for governor, when he confronted two multi-millionaire rivals within the Democratic main and wanted all the cash he might get.
The lobbyist was actually rubbing his arms gleefully, anticipating that his tight relationship with Davis would mechanically deliver him a cornucopia of latest purchasers and their charges. And he was not improper about that, as later grew to become evident.
I cite this occasion due to the flap over Gov. Gavin Newsom’s attendance at a celebration this month for lobbyist Jason Kinney, a veteran political guide and a long-time Newsom good friend who based a lobbying agency, Axiom Advisors, shortly after Newsom was elected in 2018.
Kinney’s 50th birthday was celebrated with a lavish ceremonial dinner at French Laundry, a really costly Napa restaurant, and Newsom and his spouse, Jennifer, attended despite the fact that it was the kind of gathering that Newsom had usually discouraged to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the San Francisco Chronicle reported on the Newsoms’ attendance, its unhealthy political optics compelled the governor to apologize profusely, saying on Monday, “I shouldn’t have been there, I ought to have turned again round. And so when that occurs, you gotta pay the value, however you additionally gotta personal the error and also you don’t ever make it once more.”
The French Laundry incident, which reverberated loudly on social media for example of political hypocrisy, additionally put the highlight on Kinney — a former speech author for Grey Davis, by the way — and his instantaneously profitable lobbying follow.
As Politico identified in a shortly reported and written article, “Axiom reaped $10.9 million value of lobbying work in 2019-20, the primary legislative session throughout which Newsom was governor.”
The agency has 9 lobbyists and greater than 80 purchasers, most of whom are company entities or coalitions who in Capitol politics can be jousting with pursuits, comparable to unions and environmental teams, related to Newsom’s Democratic Celebration.
“A few of Axiom’s purchasers spotlight Kinney’s overlapping roles. Kidney dialysis corporations DaVita and Fresenius paid Axiom $475,000 this session,” Politico reported. “Throughout the identical interval, Kinney earned $90,000 from the California Democratic Celebration, which spent cash to go a labor-backed initiative regulating kidney dialysis. DaVita and Fresenius have been the measure’s principal opponents.
“The only most remunerative consumer for Axiom within the final two years has been Marathon Petroleum, giving Kinney’s agency $525,000 value of enterprise. Marathon is a member of a robust oil business group that battled proposals to ban hydraulic fracturing; Newsom referred to as on the Legislature earlier this yr to ship him a fracking ban.”
Political choices can have immense monetary penalties and when conflicts come up, it’s prudent to have somebody on retainer with a seat on the desk within the again room the place these choices are made.
The lobbyist with whom I chatted with 22 years in the past nonetheless has a lobbying agency and dozens of purchasers who pay him greater than $four million a yr. In actual world politics, one should pay to play with lobbying charges and marketing campaign contributions. Rightly or wrongly, it’s what it’s.
Dan Walters has been a journalist for practically 60 years, spending all however a number of of these years working for California newspapers.