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Governor Brown’s Former Cabinet Secretary Secretly Lobbying for California’s Grid Operator

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 15:01
Posted in:
Energy Grid

Santa Monica, CA — Governor Brown’s former cabinet secretary, and former executive for Pacific Gas & Electric, Dana Williamson, is said to be lobbying in the state Capitol to ramrod through reauthorization of a regional trading market for electricity that set up the state’s disastrous energy crisis two decades ago, according to legislative sources.

Witnesses saw Williamson lobbying with CAISO’s registered lobbyists from the firm of Di Mare, Brown, Hicks & Kessler and negotiating terms of last minute legislation backed by Governor Brown for a Western grid. Capitol sources said she was negotiating specifically on pending legislation despite not being a registered lobbyist. Capitol sources said they believed that she was being paid by both CAISO and by the registered lobbying firm for her services.

Any regional system for electricity would fall under the Trump Administration’s authority and open the state’s clean energy laws up to federal preemption and the importation of cheap, dirty coal power from other western states.

Click here to view Consumer Watchdog’s letter to Senators urging them not to embrace the deregulation-era legislation and its pernicious problems for California.

“There has not been a single hearing on this complicated proposal to be decided in the last days of session but one of the Governor’s former closest aides is negotiating in backrooms the terms without even registering as a lobbyist,” said Tucker. “This shows the Governor’s dirty hands all over this dirty deal strong-arming senators into a last-minute ramrod of legislation that should have real deliberation and discussion because it will put California laws on the federal chopping block.”

Governor Brown and his aides are said to be pulling out every stop, including reportedly threatening legislative agendas of lawmakers if they don’t go along with the deal.

Williamson has used the revolving door for decades. She worked for former Governor Gray Davis as deputy communications director and deputy political director. She became communications director for the Assembly majority leader from 2004 to 2006, and then director of public affairs at PG&E from 2006 to 2011.

Governor Brown hired Williamson as a senior advisor in 2011 and promoted her to cabinet secretary two years later. She and Brown’s executive secretary Nancy McFadden were paid roughly $100,000 each by the California Democratic Party for consulting and fundraising services at various times between 2013 and 2016.

Williamson left Brown’s office in 2016 to form her own company, Grace Public Affairs, and became a political and legislative consultant to Brown, according to Capitol Weekly.

For more on Gov. Brown’s relationship to the fossil fuel industry and utilities that depend on it, see:

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