California Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday praised President Joe Biden’s announcement that his administration would guarantee the deposits of Silicon Valley Bank’s clientele despite its failure. The deposits were already insured up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), but Biden’s guarantees go far beyond that.
Some are calling it a bailout.
What Newsom forgot to mention is that he is a longtime client of the failed regional bank, and three of his wineries did business there, according to a report Tuesday by The Intercept:
CADE, Odette, and PlumpJack, three wineries owned by Newsom, are listed as clients of SVB on the bank’s website. Newsom also maintained personal accounts at SVB for years, according to a longtime former employee of Newsom’s who handled his finances, and who requested anonymity to avoid professional reprisal.
BREAKING: Gavin Newsom failed to disclose personal ties including his bank accounts at Silicon Valley Bank while lobbying for their bailout.
This is illegal.
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) March 14, 2023
To be fair, when Newsom became governor, he put his businesses into a blind trust, conveniently run by his sister and a family friend and attorney. Trump did a similar maneuver when he became president, handing over business operations to his sons.
It seems just that officials should not have to give up their entire life’s work when they take office—if that were always the case a whole lot of people would never enter political life—but it does need to be ensured that their political moves don’t become intertwined with their business fortunes.
Newsom’s business ties to SVB run deep: as the California Globe reports, SVB Executive of Capital John China sits on the board of First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s gender-equity nonprofit the “California Partners Project.” Not only that, according to the transparency site Openthebooks.org, the Silicon Valley Bank was very generous to her organization:
Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com found that California Governor Gavin Newsom, through a nonprofit organization his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom founded, the California Partners Project, has very close ties to the bank.
In 2021, SVB gave $100,000 in corporate gifts to the Newsom nonprofit. These gifts are so intertwined with the Newsom’s that they are listed as a matter of California ethics law on a state government website, California Fair Political Practices Commission.
All nonprofit donors are listed on the state website if they are “behested” gifts. The term “behested” means “at the request, suggestion, or solicitation of, or made in cooperation, consultation, coordination or concert with the public official.”
Newsom managed to haul in some $23.7 million in such behested gifts to various groups last year.
Further investigations should be conducted into how SVB might have leveraged its funding and influence on behalf of the Newsom administration, and if those decisions put its financial security at risk.
Newsom, to his credit, was extremely successful in business before becoming governor, and his company the Plumpjack Group owns an impressive slate of assets including wineries, restaurants, and hotels. How much of this was banked or financed by SVB? We don’t know yet.
We do know that although many people are busy somehow blaming Trump for the fiasco, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) actually plays a significant role in overseeing state-chartered banks like SVB:
Democrats are trying to blame "Trump'" for the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, even though SVB was regulated by a California agency created by Gavin Newsom and controlled by Democrat appointees.
— steve hilton (@SteveHiltonx) March 14, 2023
There’s no smoking gun here at this point, but Gavin Newsom’s deep ties to this failed bank are disturbing, as are the “behested” gifts to his wife’s non-profit.
Whenever a scandal like this unfolds, news eventually comes out that some politician or other is up to their eyeballs in it. It’s looking like this case is staying true to form—and Gavin’s right in the thick of it.
The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of RedState.com.