*Sign up at the bottom for my latest updates from inside the State Capitol
For two months I’ve warned Gavin Newsom that his $1 billion deal with BYD China was doomed. Yesterday, it officially collapsed. The N-95 masks failed a federal safety test a second time, forcing California to seek a refund.
Gov. Newsom first unveiled the no-bid contract on April 7 – not in a message to lawmakers, but on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show. He declared it a triumph for California as a “Nation State” and was rewarded with a coveted “President Newsom” hashtag.
Yet now that the deal has collapsed, he says we didn’t really need the masks anyway.
In the weeks after the Maddow announcement, the Governor denied bipartisan requests to see the contract. He refused the LA Times’ public records request on the basis of “attorney-client privilege.” He ignored my repeated inquiries about quality control – all of this despite wiring $500 million upfront to a company with a “history of supplying allegedly faulty products” and “ties to the Chinese military and Communist Party.”
And this wasn’t the first botched mask deal. The Governor failed to disclose he had wired $457 million to “Blue Flame,” a company started by a political strategist just two days earlier. A CalMatters investigation uncovered that the state had to claw back the money when bankers flagged the transaction as “suspicious.”
This is exactly why Gov. Newsom must stop acting unilaterally and start respecting our constitutional checks and balances. Despite bipartisan alarm about executive overreach, he still refuses to entertain any limits on his extraordinary powers. It’s time for the Legislature to move forward with ACR 196, the one tool at its disposal for reining in the Governor.
*Sign up below for my latest updates from inside the Capitol