The New York Times has an interesting story today about the “political playbook” of California utility PG&E, which has faced much criticism for its policies in California, including its involvement in a massive gas pipeline explosion and its political wheeling and dealing to prevent political accountability. The article really buried the lede, which involves California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris — then state AG — refusing to even look at prosecuting the company:
Jim Ruane, the former mayor of San Bruno, tried to have the staff of the California attorney general at the time, Kamala Harris, bring charges for what he said was illegal cooperation between the company and regulators.
“They just blew us off,” said Britt Strottman, a lawyer who represented San Bruno after the pipeline explosion.
A year later, a state senator, Jerry Hill, wrote to Ms. Harris to renew calls for an investigation.
“The response we got was ‘thanks for the letter — go away,’” Mr. Hill said.
The San Francisco firm that helped manage the company’s response to political criticism was SCN Strategies. SCN Strategies recently rebranded as SCRB strategies, which helped stage Kamala’s campaign rollout in Oakland. Juan Rodriguez, who worked as an SCRB partner, was tapped as Harris’s campaign manager.
The firm is a sort of clearing house for California political consultants. You can see that one of its managing directors is Harris’s former spokesperson. A big part of how Harris is wrapping up California endorsements is probably thanks to the network of SCRB staff who have worked in the offices of various top state politicos, including Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.
Effectively, Harris shielded the company from accountability, and now the company’s political consultants are helping run her campaign.