Home>Articles>UPDATE: State Controller Rejects Secretary Padilla’s $35 million Voting Contract with ‘Team Biden’ PR Firm

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

UPDATE: State Controller Rejects Secretary Padilla’s $35 million Voting Contract with ‘Team Biden’ PR Firm

CAGOP Chairwoman Jessica Patterson, Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove respond

By Katy Grimes, October 6, 2020 7:45 pm

UPDATE BELOW: Last week, California Globe reported California Secretary of State Alex Padilla awarded a $35 million voter outreach contract with a “Team Biden” consulting firm with obvious ties to the Democratic Party.

Betty Yee. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Republicans announced California State Controller Betty Yee rejected the contract with SKD Knickerbocker, a Washington, D.C.-based public affairs firm whose managing director is Anita Dunn, a senior advisor on Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and White House communications director under President Barack Obama.

California Republican Party Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson had plenty to say about regarding the Controller rejecting Padilla’s $35 million voting contract to the “Team Biden” PR firm:

“It’s disgraceful to Californians that the State Controller had to explain to Secretary Padilla that he has no budget authority to make this wasteful and completely partisan $35 million expenditure and had to step in to protect the integrity of our elections system,” said California Republican Party Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson.

“And it’s even worse that Governor Gavin Newsom has remained silent when the integrity of our election was in jeopardy. For a headline-chasing politician like Gov. Newsom to not comment about this partisan contract, raises the question of his potential knowledge and involvement.”

“We join the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and also ask that California’s election chief stop any further expenditure and payment on an illegal contract and recover any funds they may have paid.”

CAGOP Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson. (Photo: CAGOP)

“After more than a month of excuses and contradictions by Alex Padilla, California’s election chief, I am thankful the State Controller agreed with us and stepped in to reject this partisan, get-out-the-vote contract with a ‘Team Biden’ PR firm,” Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) said. “Handing 35 million taxpayer dollars to a PR firm with a history of working on high-profile Democrat races in California was a reckless and unacceptable action. The integrity of our election system should have never been in doubt, especially by the state election’s chief.”

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association said in a statement that Padilla has been spending millions of taxpayer dollars on this contract illegally. HJTA demanded the Secretary of State stop the spending immediately, and warned if the spending did not stop, they would seek immediate relief from the court.

California Globe noted the Secretary of State’s office left us with more questions than answers and asked:

  • Why are they hiding the contract?
  • What’s in it?
  • Why didn’t they clear it with the Department of Finance or the Controller’s Office first?
  • And why play into Donald Trumps hand about the legitimacy of the election?

UPDATE: The Controller has not yet released a formal statement about the cancellation of the $35 million contract with SDK Knickerbocker for voter outreach. California Globe has learned there were conversations about the contract over the weekend, with the Controller’s office taking the position that the Secretary of State did not have the authority to authorize the contract under the budget bill, or any other legislation.

This is the contract with SDK Knickerbocker:

SOS SKDKnickerbocker contract

California Globe will be updating this article as more information is available.

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29 thoughts on “UPDATE: State Controller Rejects Secretary Padilla’s $35 million Voting Contract with ‘Team Biden’ PR Firm

  1. California election have not been legitimate since I started voting 30 years ago. I have zero hope for this election we have no choice but to mail in our ballots. I’m hearing ballots were mailed out with NO president choice…Sick of the games and tyrant Newsom….

    1. I will vote in person. If something prevents from doing that, I will deposit my ballot at a Drop Box at a Vote Center. I WILL NOT mail it through the post office.

    2. I agree totally.. Being a mayor he should respect the religious values if most Hispanics! Abortion is wrong and it will be overturned! He seldom really focuses on his job, instead the mayor is all about zivisl issues! Ridiculous leadership!

    3. I agree totally.. Being a mayor he should respect the religious values if most Hispanics! Abortion is wrong and it will be overturned! He seldom really focuses on his job, instead the mayor is all about social issues! Ridiculous leadership!

  2. Seriously, how can we recall Padilla???

    He is utterly corrupt and in the tank for the Democrat party and is akin to the proverbial fox guarding the proverbial hen house…

    He cannot be trusted to oversee a fair and legal election….

    Recall Newsom, Padilla and Becerra…. All are toxic to California citizens…. And all are guilty of FEDERAL ELECTION FRAUD!!!

  3. Gee, call me cynical, but I can’t remember ANY instance of California’s current crop of office holders doing the right thing before, so why start now? And there has certainly been a steady stream of outrages against Californians in recent years, hasn’t there?

    Is it to divert our attention from our 2020 all-by-mail CA election and the shenanigans that are already emerging from it, such as thousands of ballots sent out that have no choice for U.S. President, as noted in the first comment above? (How the heck does that happen, anyway? Exactly how does a “mistake” like that happen?) Or is it to divert our attention from the fact that Secty of State Padilla was long ago court-ordered to clean up severely bloated voter rolls of dead people and people who have moved to other states and other ineligible voters and has to this day STILL NOT DONE IT? (Meanwhile everyone on those rolls gets a vote-by-mail ballot?) Or is to divert our attention from SOS Padilla who is on record as saying voter fraud is “nearly nonexistent?” Or is it to divert our attention from Atty General Becerra, who writes — with impunity — ballot titles and summaries that completely mis-characterize state propositions? Etc….

    The rejection of this scandalous $35M SKD Knickerbocker contract is obviously a good thing and a no-brainer, but I can’t help wondering why there has been no effort to correct the other outrages that have long-affected our election integrity in California. In fact the opposite has occurred.
    Something stinks.

  4. Regarding vote-by-mail problems, L.A. County:
    Listen to Larry O’Connor at KABC 790 take calls this morning from L.A. County voters who have received duplicate absentee ballots, absentee ballots with names of previous residents or unknown people, have seen stacks of absentee ballots that disappeared the next morning, etc.:
    Play the 11 a.m. hour. The segment begins at the 28:15 mark. Approx 10 mins long:

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