Three of Gavin Newsom’s private wineries had been clients of the Silicon Valley Bank. Ken Klippenstein of the Intercept uncovered that Newsom’s involvement with SVB extended beyond his wineries after the bank’s crash.
According to Klippenstein’s reporting, Newsom’s personal relationship with SVB went beyond the wineries. One anonymous former employee who handled Newsom’s finances told Klippenstein that Newsom “maintained personal accounts at SVB for years.”
It is unclear whether those personal accounts were still active at the time of the bank’s collapse last week. If they were, Newsom could have stood to benefit directly from the Biden administration’s rescue package, which will reimburse SVB account holders even if their balances surpass the $250,000 limit insured by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Under California state law, elected officials like Newsom are prohibited from exerting any influence on government decisions if they have a financial interest or if there is reason to believe that such an interest exists, however, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of Gavin Newsom, happens to be a co-founder of a non-profit organization called California Partners Project, which reportedly received a $100,000 donation from SVB. It is worth noting that the former president of the bank is listed as one of the members of the charity’s board.
On Monday, Newsom’s office released the following statement:
“Over the last 48 hours, I have been in touch with the highest levels of leadership at the White House and Treasury. Everyone is working with FDIC to stabilize the situation as quickly as possible, to protect jobs, people’s livelihoods, and the entire innovation ecosystem that has served as a tent pole for our economy.”
The reported financial ties between Governor Newsom and Silicon Valley Bank, as well as his wife’s non-profit organization receiving a significant donation from the bank, raise questions about potential conflicts of interest and could potentially call into question Newsom’s integrity as an elected official. As the governor of California, Newsom is expected to act in the best interest of the public and to avoid any appearance of impropriety.
BREAKING: Gavin Newsom failed to disclose personal ties including his bank accounts at Silicon Valley Bank while lobbying for their bailout.
This is illegal.
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) March 14, 2023
The situation also highlights the importance of transparency and accountability in government decision-making and the potential risks associated with private interests influencing public policy. It is essential that government officials uphold high ethical standards and maintain the public’s trust in their leadership.
“Governor Newsom’s business and financial holdings are held and managed by a blind trust, as they have been since he was first elected governor in 2018,” according to SFGATE.
The California Governor has a long-standing interest in the wine industry and has been involved in wine-making ventures for many years. In addition to being a winery owner himself, Newsom has been a vocal advocate for California’s wine industry and has worked to promote its growth and success. Newsom has also been known to serve California wines at official state functions and events. However, Newsom’s involvement with the wine industry has also been the subject of scrutiny, particularly in relation to potential conflicts of interest involving his role as governor and his ownership of wineries.
Governor Gavin Newsom is known to have ownership stakes in several private wineries in California. The exact number of wineries that Newsom owns is not publicly disclosed, but it is known that he is involved in at least two wineries in Napa Valley – PlumpJack Winery and CADE Estate Winery – and one in the Russian River Valley – the Iron Horse Vineyards.