More On: Gavin Newsom
Remember when Joe Biden was out of the country and Gavin Newsom walked into the White House like he owned the place, with his jacket slung over his shoulder and TV cameras in the perfect spot to catch the moment he opened the door and went into the president's private room?
Quite some chutzpah.
People started talking right away that he was there to "measure the drapes," which was exactly what he was doing.
People see the governor of California as the most attractive leader for a new generation of moderate Democrats and their best chance of keeping the White House.
In this case, Joe Biden would be replaced before the end of his term so that Kamala Harris could become the first black woman president, at least for a few months, and Gavin Newsom could become VP and run for president in 2024. At 54, this distant relative of Nancy Pelosi thinks he can beat Donald Trump by being the "youth ticket."
But wait a minute.
Non-profit group for independent transparency Open the Books has dug deep into California's finances to find out who supports Newsom and the bad policies they back, like misguided criminal justice reforms that have made crime rates go up all over the country.
The part of the Open The Books report about Newsom that was only given to The Post is a fascinating look into the world of liberal political elites that is tearing this country apart. It also shows how donations of millions of dollars to Newsom's campaign led to contracts worth billions of dollars.
After a 10-year fight to find out what was in California's secret checkbook and almost 450 open records requests to every state agency, Open The Books found that Newsom's donors are often richly rewarded for their generosity with grants to their foundations and huge tax credits to their companies. "Newsom asked about 1,000 state vendors for $10.5 million in campaign donations," says CEO and founder Adam Andrzejewski. "These companies or companies with which they are affiliated got $6.2 billion from the state last year."
His woke quartet
At the center of Newsom's Berkeley/Bay Area cheer squad are four very wealthy women who are passionate about both climate change and changing the way criminal justice works: Patty Quillin, the wife of Netflix CEO and billionaire Reed Hastings, Quinn Delaney, the wife of real estate mogul Wayne Jordan, Kaitlyn Krieger, the wife of Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger, and Elizabeth Simons, the daughter of hedge fund billionaire James Simons.
Politico says that over the course of two years, the "woke four" put $22 million into progressive criminal justice ballot measures and progressive district attorneys.
They spent almost $4 million just to get George Gascón, a far-left Los Angeles County District Attorney who has made so many Californians' lives hard, into office. They took out their Hermes wallets again to stop two attempts to get rid of him from office and keep him in office.
Open The Books has broken down how much they have given to help Gascon and his policies.
Quillin gave him $1.65 million, and Simons gave him $725,000. Krieger gave $206,500 to the Real Justice PAC, which helped Gascón. Delaney gave $448,000.
The Kriegers started the Future Justice Fund, whose goal is to stop "mass incarceration." Putting black people in jail is racist, so the Kriegers want to stop it. Delaney and Jordan started the Akonadi Foundation, which works to "stop the criminalization of black youth" and "supports the development of powerful social-change movements to end structural racism and create a racially just society."
Akonadi gave $28,200 to Newsom's campaign to be re-elected. Delaney gave $122,200 to Newsom's re-election campaign. Jordan gave $89,800 and another $100,000 to the Million Voter Project Action Fund Committee to Oppose Newsom Recall. But California has given back a little bit of this kindness.
For example, Simons gave $123,200 to Newsom's campaign to stay in office, and her husband, Mark Heising, who is an expert in private equity, gave the same amount.
Through UC Berkeley, California gave back to the Heising-Simons Foundation in the amount of $262,502.40 in 2021.
Quillin gave Newsom $123,200 to help him get re-elected. Hastings put $94,000 and another $3 million into a fund to help stop Newsom from being removed from office. Netflix workers and executives gave $69,150 to Newsom's campaign to stay in office. The Federal PAC of Netflix, Inc. gave another $5,000.
Open The Books found that the California Film Commission gave tax credits to Netflix because they liked the company. Netflix got more than twice as many tax credits as any other company ($60 million, according to the February 2022 report).
It's nice to live in a state where the media gives you a pass because of who you know. But if Newsom wants to be a big player, the scrutiny from Open The Books is just a taste of what's to come.
Bragg’s off target
Alvin Bragg won't put murderers in jail, but he's happy to use the law against political enemies of the Biden administration, like Steve Bannon, who used to work for Trump. Even though this city is having a lot of violent crimes, Bragg's top priority today is to charge a Washington, DC, resident.
Open letter, closed minds
Shame on the never-Trump former Pentagon leaders who signed an open letter. They must know that it fits right into the Biden administration's inflammatory election story that Trump voters pose some kind of existential threat to "democracy."
The letter, which talks about the Capitol riot on January 6, was carefully written to be hard to understand and almost make no sense. But the 13 people who signed the letter know very well that "MAGA fear" is the only way for Democrats to avoid getting wiped out in the midterm elections.
The letter's goal is clear from the fact that it was put together by Peter Feaver, a professor of political science at Duke and a rabid Trump-hater who also taught General "Thoroughly Modern" Milley.
Leon Panetta, a former liberal California congressman who became Obama's CIA director and defense secretary, should get extra criticism because he also signed the "Dirty 51" letter from 51 former intelligence officials that said the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian propaganda before the 2020 election.
Some of the things on the list should be better. Some people can't be saved.