Prior to its collapse, Governor Gavin Newsom’s private wineries had been clients of the Silicon Valley Bank.
Now, new details have been uncovered which show that Newsom’s involvement with the bank extended well past his wineries following the bank crash.
The BusinessInsider reported:
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.
California state law prohibits elected officials from exerting influence on government decision if they possess any sort of interest, namely financial.
However, it appears that Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, received a $100,000 donation from SVB for her non-profit organization California Partners Project. In fact, the former president of the bank is noted as one of the charity’s board members.
On March 13, Gavin Newsom’s office released a 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.”
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
These reported financial ties have raised concerns of potential conflicts of interest as well as questions regarding Newsom’s integrity as an elected official.
According to SFGATE, “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.”
For many years, Governor Newsom has been tied to the wine industry and wine-making ventures. Newsom has been an advocate for the industry to promote its growth in addition to being an owner of a winery himself.
These same connections to the industry have called into question Newsom’s role as the governor of California.
While it is unknown the exact number of wineries Newsom holds ownership of, there are at least two in Napa Valley and one in the Russian River Valley.