In August and September 2022, the Globe shared a report by Open the Books, which sued, and then had to file 442 California Public Record Act requests – one with each state agency – in order to obtain California’s line-by-line spending by state agencies. California’s Controller, Betty Yee, rejected their sunshine request for state spending, claiming she “couldn’t locate” any of the nearly 50 million bills she paid in 2019.
What Open the Books auditors found in California’s state spending was “979 state vendors who gave $10,561,828 in political donations to Gavin Newsom during his 2010, 2018, recall election, and 2022 election cycles. Meanwhile, these companies reaped $6,201,978,173 in state payments.”
That’s a $10.6 million investment for a $6.3 billion return.
Open The Books also found “pay to play” vendor contributions going to the first partner, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who they say solicited state vendors for donations to her charity, The Representation Project, which since 2011, has generated $17,489,680 in revenue.
Here’s what they found:
Major corporations with state contracts or business before the state gave the charity five and six figure gifts. The Sacramento Bee and Washington Post previously identified the companies and today we know just how much those corporations reaped in state agency payments. (23 and Me is the only donor that wasn’t on the state vendor list, however, they had an interest in 2021 state legislation regulating the use of consumer genetic data.)
IRS 990 informational returns for The Representation Project show that Siebel-Newsom took $1.5 million in salary from 2013-2021 and another $1.6 million in payments to her private company, Girls Club Entertainment since 2012.
Now Open the Books reports “Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s non-profit, The Representation Project, raises money from a who’s who of governor’s backers and state vendors – despite their charitable registration lapsing with the state.”
The Representation Project fights sexism and “advances gender justice.”
“The nonprofit is currently delinquent with its charitable solicitation registration in California. The annual RRF-1 form necessary to renew the organization’s status as a nonprofit was rejected early in 2022; The Representation Project should have filed a new form and paid a $200 fee in order to regain compliance with state regulations for last year.”
“According to California law, nonprofits cannot solicit funds while delinquent. Nevertheless, TRP solicited and accepted donations throughout the entirety of 2022.”
Notably, Open the Books reports today, “After our work earned national news coverage, The Representation Project quickly scrambled to file their registration paperwork. Their paperwork with the California Attorney General is signed, dated, and received January 12, 2023. A process that normally takes weeks was executed in just hours.”
What is it with so many elected political officials these days? Many not only enrich themselves while holding public office, far too many create fishy non-profit organizations (Clinton Global Initiative, The Bonta California Progress Foundation, The Steinberg Institute…) or NGOs which provide income above their public office paycheck.
In 2021, the Globe reported Governor Gavin Newsom released his 2019 tax returns, showing that he made $1.7 million during his first year as Governor. The First Partner made $151,000 through her non-profit organization The Representation Project, $50,000 through her Girls Club Entertainment production company, and around $1,000 in residuals from previous acting jobs.
However, most of their income was made through the couples numerous trusts and businesses. According to their 2019 returns, the couple made over $1.3 million in income from these passive sources, going up around $500,000 from their 2018 returns.
That Siebel-Newsom’s non-profit wasn’t even in compliance is pretty disreputable. But don’t they have to follow the laws governing non-profits, or is that something Attorney General Rob Bonta no longer enforces for certain people?
Read the entire report on Open The Books Substack.
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