The LA Times publishes a story late last week about a close connection between governor Gavin Newsom and a lobbyist who says he has advised the governor for 14 years. In November, the governor attended Jason Kinney’s 50th birthday celebration at the French Laundry restaurant in Yountville.
Previously, Jason Kinney served as a speech writer for governor Gray Davis. More recently, he says he has been an advisor to Newsom and a lobbyist paid by companies to influence the governor and his staff. That dual role is raising questions about potential conflicts of interest.
Emily Rusch is the executive director of the California public interest research group. She tells the LA Times, “I think it certainly can cause the public to question whether any advice the governor is getting is in the public interest or in the interest of the companies that have paid Kinney’s firm to lobby, it’s common sense to question that.” End of quote
Kinney’s firm is Axiom Advisors. His clients include Netflix, Pacific Gas & Electric and Marathon Petroleum. Axiom reported receiving $580 thousand dollars from clients in the first three months of Newsom’s term as governor. That exploded to $2.3 million by the end of the second quarter. From his inauguration in 2019 to September of last year, Axiom reported a total of $10.9 million for lobbying work.
Newsom describes Kinney as a friend he’s known for nearly 20 years. Kinney helped run Gavin’s campaign to legalize marijuana. Two weeks after Newsom was inaugurated as governor, Kinney registered as a lobbyist for his new firm, Axiom Advisors. He has also served as an advisor to Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg and Kevin de Leon, a former leader of the state senate who now serves on the LA city council.
In 2019, after Newsom called on the legislature to ban hydraulic fracturing, the California geologic energy management division, known as Cal Gem, issued six new fracking permits to Aera Energy, one of Kinney’s clients. Axiom also lobbied legislators on a bill that would have mandated health and safety buffer zones around oil and gas wells and refineries near schools, playgrounds and nursing homes.
The entire article about Jason Kinney the lobbyist and friend of governor Gavin Newsom is available in the December 31st edition of the LA Times.