Vote Safe California Contract Comes Back to Bite SOS Alex Padilla in the Butt

(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

That Vote Safe California education campaign was obviously a success, since, if President Trump’s challenges do not hold, we are looking to inaugurate Democrat Joe Biden on January 20, 2021. Under the Emergency Orders issued by Governor Gavin Newsom, Secretary of State Alex Padilla entered a controversial $35 million no-bid contract with SKDKnickerbocker, a company with ties to the Biden campaign, and claimed it was to educate people on the new form of mail-in voting due to the pandemic.


Everyone and their mother saw it for what it was: another Democrat “get out the vote” scheme that would exclude any Republican outreach. The other contenders for the no-bid selection also felt they were not given a fair advantage, as CalMatters pointed out.

“There is the question of whether the contract itself was awarded fairly and openly — one of the losing firms formally challenged the secretary of state’s decision, arguing that SKDKnickerbocker was given a ‘significant unfair advantage.’ “

The California GOP was also not on board with the contract, as the AP reported back in August,

” ‘This $35 million expedited state contract screams conflict of interest,’ Jessica Millan Patterson, chairwoman of the California Republican Party, said in a statement.

“The Secretary of State’s Office, which awarded the contract, said politics played no role in what companies were considered, the finalists selected or the eventual decision.

“ ‘This is a nonpartisan effort’ aimed at Republicans, Democrats, independents and other voters, said Paula Valle, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat who has endorsed Biden.”

It seems none of us were wrong, and now this:.

“It was Nov. 2. Since early September, his staff had been wrangling with the staff of State Controller Betty Yee over whether Padilla’s office had the budgetary authority to pay for a $35 million contract it had awarded to public affairs firm SKDKnickerbocker to run a statewide voter education campaign called Vote Safe California. The secretary of state’s office maintained that it did have budgetary authority. The controller’s office, which approves payments, maintained that it did not.

“With the two agencies at an impasse, SKDKnickerbocker was left to shoulder millions of dollars in costs for a campaign explaining new pandemic voting procedures. One invoice for a month’s worth of media buys on TV, radio, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat topped $11 million, and two others topped $9 million, according to documents obtained by CalMatters through a public records request.”


I reported back in October,

“In September, The Hill reported that California Secretary of State Alex Padilla entered a $35 million no-bid contract with SKD Knickerbocker for a voter outreach campaign to ‘produce advertising to encourage voters to participate in the November election.’ This is all on the California taxpayer dime, of course. Here’s the rub: SKD Knickerbocker has ties to presidential candidate Joe Biden, prompting the House Oversight and Reform Committee to mount an investigation because of this potential conflict of interest.”

Yet this did not stop Padilla from forging ahead, despite State Controller Betty Yee’s clear message that he had no authority to enter the contract and that if he did, the State would not use taxpayer dollars to pay for it.

On top of this, Padilla is being sued by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. On October 9, they filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against any further spending that has not been approved by the State Controller. According to CalMatters, they have recently added Yee to the lawsuit.

Now we have a battle between two high officials who have ambitions of going higher. It is no secret that Alex Padilla is at the top of the list to replace Senator Kamala Harris if and when she ascends to the Vice Presidency. Betty Yee has aspirations of running for governor in 2026, and it would set a really bad precedent if she caved. We already have a limp noodle for a governor, why keep repeating the pattern?


Padilla is attempting to make an end-run around Yee’s position by tasking the Department of Finance to use federal emergency appropriations designated for the Counties. This is wrong, and it is more taxpayer theft under the guise of Emergency Orders.

“On Nov. 13, the secretary of state’s office asked the Department of Finance to transfer federal funds for the contract, though the department has not yet acted on the request, Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said.

“The controller’s office had already intimated that it would not approve the use of those funds. ‘The appropriation relied upon was clearly made to the counties and not to the SOS,’ Dave O’Toole, the controller’s chief operations officer, wrote in an Oct. 2 email to Padilla deputy Lizette Mata.”

So, it is not just California’s Governor Gavin Newsom that treats the state as its individual fiefdom, but elected officials like Padilla. If he is allowed to be selected for the Senate, he will take this corruption into that body.

Just like Newsom, Padilla treats the citizens as his subjects, and the tax revenue as his piggy bank. With a whole new set of curfews and restrictions issued by Newsom, it is imperative the people of California rise up and say, “No more of this”, and take back their lives. If Padilla and Newsom have their way, soon there will be no living possible.





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