Nyet to PG&E - Assemblymember Kiley introduces legislation prohibiting campaign contributions from beleaguered utility

If a piece of legislation introduced today is ever signed into law, it would create a financial void for several politicians and independent expenditure committees in California.

California Assemblymember Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) introduced Assembly Bill 2079 today that seeks to prohibit an investor-owned utility from making campaign contributions to state elected officials and candidates. During the 2018 election cycle, PG&E gave nearly $1 million in direct candidate contributions.

“As PG&E seeks to emerge from bankruptcy, the most important part of restructuring is to loosen its grip on the State Capitol,” Assemblyman Kiley, who represents California's 6th district said. “Governor Newsom has sharply criticized PG&E’s negligence, and rightly so. But it was California’s political leadership that let them get away with it. This was ultimately a failure of politics.”

Along with responsibility for Camp Fire, which killed 85 people and billions in property damage, PG&E has been convicted of six felonies following a gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people; found responsible for over 1,500 fires statewide. A Wall Street Journal report said that “PG&E Corp. knew for years that hundreds of miles of high-voltage power lines could fail and spark fires, yet it repeatedly failed to perform the necessary upgrades.”

According to Kiley's press release, "Electric utilities like PG&E, while privately-owned, are uniquely intertwined with the State of California. In many ways, they behave like arms of the state – claiming monopolies on entire regions, seizing property through eminent domain, and enjoying a fixed rate of return. At the same time, they are under intensive state direction and control over prices, operations, and purchases."

A Kiley spokesperson acknowledged his campaign received $4,200 from the utility in 2016. However, that money was donated to the North Valley Community Foundation which has been assisting Camp Fire victims.  

The legislation has not yet been assigned to a committee. 

Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2020. All right reserved.


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Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

This piece of legislation probably has an ice cubes chance in hell of passing. Nonetheless, it is a brilliant political move by Mr. Kiley. If Republicans ever hope to gain relevance in California anytime in the future, these are the types of stances that can resurrect their stature with thoughtful voters.

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