On Sunday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom praised the White House for announcing a plan to protect all Silicon Valley Bank’s depositors.
Hours later, a wine-soaked scandal erupted.
“The Biden Administration has acted swiftly and decisively to protect the American economy and strengthen public confidence in our banking system,” Newsom said in a statement. “California is a pillar of the American economy, and federal leaders did the right thing.”
But Newsom left out a crucial fact, critics pointed out: The governor owns three wineries listed as clients of the bank that will benefit from the Biden administration’s intervention.
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Newsom’s three wineries — CADE, Odette, and PlumpJack — appear on a list of “Premium Wine Client Promotions” for the bank’s “Wine Division.”
Federal regulators — from the Biden administration to the F.D.I.C. and the Federal Reserve — are planning to protect all depositors. They estimate no cost to taxpayers, but under previous rules, the F.D.I.C. would only protect accounts holding $250,000 or less.
It remains unclear whether any of Newsom’s wineries held more than $250,000 in this bank. If Newsom held less than $250,000, then he could have counted his money safe even before the White House’s announcement.
Newsom worked as an entrepreneur prior to his career as a San Fransico legislator. He founded PlumpJack in 1991, four years before even volunteering on his first campaign.
As a former businessman, Newsom stirred outrage for refusing to sell his assets.
“I can’t sell them,” Newsom told reporters in 2018, according to CBS News. “These are my babies, my life, my family. I can’t do that.”
Rather than selling his assets, Newsom claims to have put them into a blind trust.
“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,” a Newsom spokesperson said when discussing the winery scandal.
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Newsom — the governor of our nation’s largest economic contributor — has been dealing with public image problems since becoming governor in 2019. California Democrats, like Vice President Kamala Harris, sometimes devolve into caricatures when running for national office.
One viral column described Newsom as projecting a “cringe” factor rendering him unable to win the Democrat’s presidential primary. Even before this scandal, some pundits were already discussing a class distinction between Democrat politicians, with some running on the “beer track” and others running on the “wine track.”
Sure enough, Newsom has been hounded in both the conservative media and the liberal media. The wine-invested governor has taken flak from outlets as varied as the New York Post and SF Gate. Newsom’s ties to the bank were first reported by The Intercept, the outlet founded by Glenn Greenwald before his guest appearances Fox News.
The Horn editorial team