California Governor Gavin Newsom has been singing the praises of his state’s decision to bail out the Silicon Valley Bank’s depositors.
But in all of his praise, he has failed to disclose just how closely he is tied to the bank.
Newsom has personal accounts at the bank, which is certainly why he was expressed so much happiness. And his wife, Jennifer Siebel, has professional ties to the bank, according to The Intercept.
In 2021, Silicon Valley Bank gave $100,000 to the charity founded by Siebel, the California Partners Project. This money came at the request of Gov. Newsom. And John China, president of SVB Capital and responsible for SVB’s fund’s management, is a founding member of the California Partners Project’s board of directors.
Newsom did describe that he was in close contact with the administration about SVB. “Over the last 48 hours, I have been in touch with the highest levels of leadership at the White House and Treasury,” Newsom said. But no one from the governor’s office described the nature of the contact.
It’s pretty clear that Newsom lobbied for the bailout, according to Business Insider.
According to Klippenstein’s reporting, Newsom’s personal relationship with SVB went beyond wineries owned by Newsom. A former employee who handled Newsom’s finances told Klippenstein that Newsom “maintained personal accounts at SVB for years.”
Newsom’s office issued a statement that the governor had “been in touch with the highest levels of leadership at the White House and Treasury.” He said the goal was to “stabilize the entire innovation ecosystem that has served as a tent pole for our economy.”
But here’s the rub, an elected official is prohibited by state law from influencing a governmental decision “in which the official knows or has reason to believe the official has a financial interest.”
Soon, the governor may not be so happy.