California in the last few years has seen some of the worst wildfires on record and its largest utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric, has been to blame for many of them.
Recently it has come to light that despite the extensive damage these fires and PG&E have caused, our elected representatives have no issue taking money from the utility giant.
ABC10 led an investigation into PG&E’s federal, political spending and found the majority of California’s congressional delegation continued to take money from the company’s PAC, even after the seeming monopoly was convicted in federal court and blamed for sparking wildfires that have taken 109 lives.
The deaths occurred in the districts of five different members of Congress, Mike Thompson, Tom McClintock, John Garamendi, Jared Huffman and our very own District 1 representative, Doug LaMalfa.
Now, I know there is nothing illegal about taking campaign contributions from the utility or its PAC, but there is an ethical dilemma at stake here. When is the money not good enough? When will the number of lives lost be too high?
Our elected representatives continue to take money from a company they say should be held to account, but at this point it’s just their bank accounts they worry about, it seems.
Here are the fires that PG&E has caused and the number of lives lost.
- Butte Fire, Sept. 9, 2015: two dead
- Nuns Fire, Oct. 8, 2017: six dead
- Atlas Fire, Oct. 8, 2017: six dead
- Cascade Fire, Oct. 8, 2017: four dead
- Redwood Valley Fire, Oct. 8, 2017: nine dead
- Camp Fire, Nov. 8, 2018: 85 dead
If accountability is their concern, then accepting money from what I see as a criminal organization is seen as nothing less than a bribe, in my opinion.
None of the five Congress members who represent the 109 people who died in PG&E- caused wildfires plan to return or donate the combined $58,000 they received from PG&E’s PAC.
These five congressman are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Even our two senators, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, have kept the money donated to them by PG&E. They have some stinging words for the company, but words and actions are two very different things.