Thursday, May 22, 2014

Khosla Hires Lobbyists to Kill SB 968

As earlier reported, State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) introduced an important bill earlier this year to provide permanent access to Martin's Beach.  SB 968 has passed through two Senate committees thus far, and awaits a hearing in the Appropriations Committee this Friday.

Yesterday, it was learned that Khosla, or rather Steven Baugher of Martin's Beach I and II, LLCs, hired lobbying firm California Strategies & Advocacy, LLC to try and kill this bill.  It is curious why Khosla waited this long, but in any case, this move comes just days before this key committee hearing.  If the bill does not pass out of Appropriations, it will be laid to rest until it is possibly taken back up next year.

The selection of California Strategies to lobby against the bill is intriguing.  Back in February of this year, Capitol Weekly reported on the Fair Political Practices Commission Enforcement Division's annual violations report.  2013 was characterized as one of the worst years ever in terms of the number of violations and prosecutions related to lobbying and campaign practices.  In this report and article, California Strategies and three of its partners--Jason Kinney, Rusty Areias, and Winston Hickox--are specifically called out for their violation of the Political Reform Act due to their failure to register as lobbyists.

You might think that someone with billions of dollars could hire a more reputable firm, but perhaps this was done intentionally.

The method of lobbying that this firm is (or at least was) purported to use is referred to as "shadow lobbying," which is characterized as former politicians and high-level staff members who serve as "consultants" and provide advice to decision-makers without being clear that they are actually paid lobbyists. 

We are hopeful that legislators and staff at the capitol will see through this guise and base their decisions on what's best for the public and not what's best for one wealthy individual. 

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