Last Friday, Governor Newsom asked that everyone buy PPE from “California-based manufacturers.”
Yet he bought $1 billion in masks from China’s disreputable BYD Company. He even resurrected the contract after the masks failed safety tests, when he could have paid an American company a fraction the price.
That’s one reason I’m now calling for a full audit and investigation of this botched deal. Another reason is Gov. Newsom has been dishonest about it from the start.
Newsom unveiled the deal April 7 – not in a message to lawmakers, but on the Rachel Maddow Show. In the video below (at 0:34), he says he secured the masks from a “manufacturer here in the State of California.”
A surprised Maddow interpreted his claim the way Newsom hoped viewers would: “You are making significant news here Governor. Those masks will be manufactured in California?”
Newsom, rattled at being called on his misleading claim, conceded: “No they’ll be manufactured overseas but we were able to source them through a California manufacturer.”
That “source” was a BYD subsidiary whose CEO gave $40,000 to Gov. Newsom’s campaign.
That might explain why California is paying BYD $3.30 per mask, while Eric Garcetti is paying Honeywell $0.79 per mask.
Even back in April, California could have made large quantities of masks for “easily under a dollar,” an expert with Raymond Associates told the LA Times, adding that the state “could have propped up its own factories and employed Californians out of work.”
In the weeks after the Maddow announcement, the Governor denied bipartisan requests to see the contract. He refused the LA Times’ public records request, claiming “attorney-client privilege.”
He also ignored my repeated inquiries about quality control – 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.”
All of this explains why the Sacramento Bee, a paper that strongly endorsed Newsom, recently called him “Gov. Gaslight.” His failures of trust and credibility are doing great harm to our state.