Did Governor Jerry Brown Try To Use State Workers For His Own Profit?

Did Governor Jerry Brown Try To Use State Workers For His Own Profit?

Well, well, well. It looks like Jerry Brown, also known as “Governor Moonbeam” of California, who constantly preaches about “green energy” and climate change, was looking to get himself a cut of some sweet oil money. If he could find it on the Brown family land, that is.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) of California (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) of California (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

So, he did what any normal California citizen would do. He called in the state oil and gas regulators to do some research for him.

After a phone call from the governor and follow-up requests from his aides, senior staffers in the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency over at least two days produced a 51-page historical report and geological assessment, plus a personalized satellite-imaged geological and oil and gas drilling map for the area around Brown’s family ranchland near the town of Williams.

State regulators labeled the map they did for Brown “Oil and Gas Potential In West Colusa County,” and “JB_Ranch,” referring to the Brown family land in Colusa County.

Ultimately, the regulators told the governor, prospects were “very low” for any commercial drilling or mining at the 2,700-acre property, which has been in Brown’s family for more than a century.

Oh, wait a minute. That’s not something that any citizen of California can do.

Asked Oct. 27 for examples of similar drilling and mining research by state oil and gas regulators for private individuals, (Brown spokesman Gareth) Lacy provided two examples Thursday of oil and gas research for public bodies, rather than private individuals — the city of Los Angeles and the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper non-government organization.

The third example given by the governor’s spokesman was made up of nine pages of drilling records provided to what was identified only as a private property owner, whose name was redacted, and advised that future drilling in his area appeared unlikely.

Oil industry experts said they could not recall any instances of private individuals getting the kind of state work done for private property that Brown commissioned.

Brown’s request to state regulators amounted to the governor using state workers as “his own private oil prospecting team,” said Hollin Kretzmann, a staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.

And through open records laws, the Associated Press found out about this little hunt for oil that Governor Brown directed the state to do for him on his own private land. This could land Brown in a lot of trouble.

California law bars elected officials from using public employees or other public resources for personal purposes, with limited exceptions for things like occasional personal calls from work phones.

Petroleum-industry professionals contacted by the AP said they never heard of regulators carrying out and compiling that kind of research, analysis and mapping for private individuals. The AP told the oil-industry professionals only that state regulators did the work for a state official.

Assessing a private property’s oil and gas and mineral potential is not something that state regulators typically do, one oil industry executive said. “There’s no evaluation. That’s not a service they provide at all,” said Rick Peace, president of a Bakersfield, California, company that helps manage oil exploration and production.

Roland Bain, a petroleum geologist based in Northern California, said he was struck by the report’s “beautiful map.”

“Anyone calling in for help is not going to get that,” Bain said. “The division of oil and gas has never been in a position to give you detailed geological mapping.”

This could even possibly be an impeachable offense.

California public ethics laws forbid elected officials from using state resources for personal or political gain.

Section 8314 of the California Government Code indicates: “It is unlawful for any elected state or local officer…to use or permit others to use public resources for…personal or other purposes which are not authorized by law.”

California Government Code Section 3020 specifies: “State officers elected on a statewide basis, members of the State Board of Equalization, and judges of state courts are subject to impeachment for misconduct in office.”

The question is, do Californians have the guts to hold their ultra-progressive and supposedly “green” governor accountable?

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1 Comment
  • Appalled By The World says:

    The man can’t be blamed-he’s of the party that always does what it wants and gets away with it all the time. He probably figured if Madame Mao Clinton can get away with not being held accountable for anything and Emperor Obola as well then why not him? After all, the voters were stupid enough to bring him back long after he should have been retired so it’s the least he could do as a thank you.

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