Politics

Soft Corruption and Newsom’s Silence: PG&E Lawyers Wrote PG&E Bailout Law

Written by T. Logan Dayne

While not illegal, a state law being pushed by Gavin Newsom as a result of PG&E’s atrocious crimes, resulting in 85 felonies and the largest mass homicide committed by a corporation in U.S. history, is being drafted by the same law firm that has represented PG&E for decades.

PG&E pleaded guilty to the 85 felonies for the sparking of a fire that destroyed Paradise, California, and resulted in the manslaughter of 84 victims. PG&E’s bankruptcy paid out for many victims of the wildfire they have been directly responsible for over a 3 year period, resulting in the death of 131 people. Out of the many options, this particular law firm, O’Melveny & Myers, was chosen and given a $9.6 million contract with the state. O’Melveny & Myers, however, has done extensive work for PG&E going back at least 2 decades. Steve Bradley, whose grandmother had been one of those killed by PG&E said, “PG&E’s lawyers wrote the law that allowed them to get away with murder.” It should also be noted that PG&E is a significant contributor to Newsom’s campaign and a supermajority of state lawmakers. They have even given money to a nonprofit founded by Newsom’s wife. Other survivors of the massacre spoke out condemning the perverse corruption taking place. 

Corruption like this has become commonplace in many political spheres, especially rampant when a supermajority is in control. A lack of competition leads to the corrupt uses of power as there are far fewer checks when an entity can control an entire system. Newsom’s spokesperson attempted to quell these disputes by saying that “[O’Melveny & Myers]…did not represent PG&E when it worked for the State of California on this matter.” A statement that seems to speak past the claims of those who suffered tragically from this incident, foremost that the State purposely chose a law firm that was friendly and used to working with PG&E. “It has to be corruption,” Bradley continues, “If they were bumbling politicians that didn’t understand what they were fully doing, they wouldn’t be able to do what they’re doing.” While victims of the fires have still been billions short on funds and have waited for years for payment for the atrocities done to them, PG&E has also continued to make political contributions to those in control in California.

PG&E is currently face four more counts of felony involuntary manslaughter of a 2020 fire. There are also 33 criminal charges against PG&E for another fire in Kincade. The friendliness of the state to the Power Monopoly has been an insult to those the state has a responsibility most to protect. The softball corruption of writing laws to favor the corporations though has become an unfortunately commonplace practice in California. 

Photo Cred: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images