California Governor Gavin Newsom freely admits – he even boasts – that he lobbied “the highest levels of leadership at the White House and Treasury” for SVB help. He is thrilled at the Fed’s bailout: “Their actions this weekend have calmed nerves.” None more than his own nerves.
The Intercept reports that Newsom has extensive personal ties to SVB that he hasn’t bothered to disclose. He has an account at the bank and ties to three private wineries that are top SVB customers. His wife is a co-founder of the non-profit California Partners Project, which has an account with the bank and has gotten a $100,000 donation from it. John China, an SVB executive, sits on the board of the Partners Project.
California bans public officials from potentially influencing decisions when they have a “financial interest,” and the White House isn’t saying if Newsom disclosed his ties to the bank. Even if he DID disclose this, he should have recused himself because of his clear conflict of interest.
Newsom has a history of being sloppy about ethics – recall his flouting of a ban on indoor dining at a posh Napa Valley restaurant and the time he packed his kids off to a summer camp where many of the kids weren’t wearing masks in violation of a state requirement.
Yet, Democrats are holding him up as a top candidate for the White House – apparently because he stands up for the little guy.