PG&E’s blank check to exceed $10 million

Pub date October 24, 2008
SectionPolitics Blog

By Steven T. Jones

Pacific Gas & Electric has shattered previous campaign spending records by giving more than $9.7 million in cash and services to defeat Prop. H, the Clean Energy Act, as of Oct. 18, according to the latest campaign finance reporting. Is anyone else appreciating the irony of PG&E funneling its seemingly unlimited spending through the front group Committee to Stop the Blank Check? It would really be funny if it weren’t such a seriously duplicitous effort to subvert honest political debate and prevent the switch to renewable energy sources, leaving us with a PG&E portfolio that relies on fossil fuels and nuclear power.

The money is going largely to Mayor Gavin Newsom’s political team, mostly to Eric Jaye, who is spreading it around to various community groups, aggressive advertising, and paid campaign workers going door-to-door. They’re also spending tens of thousands of dollars on polling, and considering that the pace of the PG&E spending has increased since the last reporting period, perhaps they’re getting a little worried that people see through their lies and actually want a future of clean power and local control. The committee still has $1.7 million in the bank and unlimited reserves from PG&E, so watch for things to get even uglier in coming weeks.

But if you’re interested in deciding this measure for yourself, read your ballot handbook about what it will actually do and/or check out a new, fairly even-handed story on the measure from the Associated Press.