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Jerry Brown’s Gusher of Government Abuse

Monday November 9th, 2015   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 9:01am PST   •  

Seal_of_California_200California governor Jerry Brown casts himself as a visionary leader in climate change and likes to demonize the oil and gas industry. When it comes to his own property and his own interests, the governor sings a different tune. As Ellen Knickmeyer of the Associated Press noted, according to state records, “Gov. Jerry Brown last year directed state oil and gas regulators to research, map and report back on any mining and oil drilling history and ‘potential for future oil and gas activity’ at the Brown family’s private land in Northern California.” Note that Brown did not hire an independent engineering firm to map out this potential oil and gas activity, like other property owners. Instead he deployed state personnel for that task, which state law forbids.

Brown’s office claimed he received no special treatment, sought only geologic history, and requested only public records, all dubious claims. Republicans are calling for an investigation but the Los Angeles Times already has a sense of the problem: “It’s inappropriate for the governor to call the head of an agency for help with personal business, especially someone he had just installed in the job nine days before. It also was wrong for his aides to follow up with the agency to ensure that there would be a map and other specific information. State employees are paid to do state business, not take care of the governor’s personal matters.” That is true but understates the matter.

Here we have a governor’s son, to the manner born, who traded on his father’s name. A failed senatorial and presidential candidate, the two-time governor has come to believe that state employees are his personal staff to deploy as he sees fit, at taxpayer expense. Worse, state officials themselves seem to be on board with this abuse of power. Nobody in state government blew the whistle and it took diligent reporters to uncover the story. In California you don’t have to dig very deep to bring up a gusher of ruling-class rot.

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November 2015