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"Legalized" pay-to-play in California – the Newsoms create problems, "solve" them, and cash checks along the way.
FLOWCHART: Following nonprofit and taxpayer money as Newsom, Inc. trades with itself.
In the summer of 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom convinced the state legislature to provide $4.7 billion for K-12 mental health services, which, among other things, funded 10,000 new school counselors.
Gavin Newsom convinced the legislature because Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of the governor, convinced him. The biggest advocate for mental health funding within the K-12 California public schools in the Newsom administration was Mrs. Newsom, according to published accounts.
In fact, Gavin Newsom created The Office of First Partner so his wife could promote her policy agenda using taxpayer money. Since 2019, Siebel Newsom’s been armed with nearly $5 million and nine staffers within her subdivision of the governor’s office.
Last November, Siebel Newsom’s advocacy and California’s spending priorities were outlined in a glowing news article. Loretta Whitson, Director of the California Association of School Counsellors, a trade association representing 3,000 California school counselors, was quoted:
“While the governor’s recent investment will add additional school counselors to the workforce, there will be an even greater need to access films and curriculum support material such as Siebel Newsom’s documentary series. (We) would love to work with her and support her efforts.” (Source: EdSource)
(When we reached out for comment, Whitson told us she’s never screened the films and couldn’t speak to Siebel Newsom’s influence on the legislation. She noted that the funding will improve the student-to-counselor ratio in California.)
Siebel Newsom spent years laying the ideological groundwork and political infrastructure to support her policy ambitions.
In 2012, Siebel Newsom founded a nonprofit, The Representation Project, that licenses “gender justice” films and curricula to 5,000 schools in all 50 states. The year Gavin Newsom became governor, the California Board of Education adopted guidance that recommended her films and curriculum be licensed and used in classrooms.
Policy making in California isn’t magic. Turns out, it’s a carefully thought through process to maximize political power and personal return from public investments.
UNDERSTANDING NEWSOM, INC.
Last week, we investigated the sophisticated scheme through which Siebel Newsom’s film and curricula “gender justice” nonprofit, The Representation Project, leverages taxpayer dollars to promote radical ideologies, personally profit, and push the political ambitions of her husband. She brags that 2.6 million students have seen the films nationwide.
The Representation Project contracts with her for-profit film-production company, Girls Club Entertainment. Since 2012, Siebel Newsom received $1.5 million in salary from the nonprofit. Furthermore, since 2012, the Siebel’s nonprofit paid her for-profit Girls Club $1.6 million to produce films.
Last month, our investigation broke the story that The Representation Project was not in compliance with the California Charitable Solicitation Act. The organization was not permitted to operate or solicit donations in California most of 2022 – yet spent all last year in operation and fundraising.
Now, we dig deeper, investigating the $4.8 million “Office of the First Partner” Gavin Newsom established for his wife’s policy work, and how Jennifer Siebel Newsom used her position to impact social and political processes, cashing checks along the way.
GRAPHIC: Comparing First Ladies in the White House to the First Partner in California. Source: OpenTheBooks.com.
‘Office of First Partner’ Established By Gov. Newsom
Jennifer Siebel Newsom took the title “First Partner” in part to emphasize her contributions to the governor’s policy agenda. As she said during one interview, her title signals “an intentional shift to reimagine the role of a governor’s spouse altogether—as a partner who supports their spouse’s work in service of the public.”
In 2019, Gov. Newsom created an office for his wife as a division within the governor's executive team. According to a press release “the First Partner and her team will focus on lifting up women and their families, breaking down barriers for our youth, and furthering the cause of gender equity in California."
Since inception, Siebel Newsom’s office has received nearly $4.8 million in directed taxpayer funding. The Office of First Partner has grown from seven employees with a budget of $791,000, to nine employees with a budget of $1,166,000 proposed for 2023-2024.
CHART: Taxpayer funding into the Office Of First Partner, California.
Children’s Mental Health
The mental well-being of children is a major concern of Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s – one she engages with in her films and in her capacity as First Partner.
This concern became more urgent during the pandemic, when Covid policies took away nearly every opportunity for kids to interact outside the home.
Ironically, Gov. Newsom’s notoriously strict lockdowns exacerbated the youth mental health crisis—a point even Jennifer Siebel Newsom conceded. A 2020 report co-produced by the First Partner stated, “teens are experiencing a tremendous loss due to school closure and social distancing,” describing the “denial, anger, and depression” felt by the state’s school children. Only half of state schools were open for in-person instruction as late as May 2021.
Even more counterintuitively, Siebel Newsom has recognized that her films and curricula can trigger youth mental health interventions. In fact, the curricula provided for her movie The Mask You Live In warns teachers that the related lessons may lead children to seek the help of mental health providers and that therapists should be on-hand during curriculum activities.
Parents have complained about the pornographic content in Newsom’s films shown to 11-year-olds (such as an animated, upside-down stripper with tape over breasts) and 15-year-olds (nearly naked women being slapped, handcuffed, and brutalized in images taken from porn sites) — to view images, viewer discretion is advised.
Editorials have criticized the activities in Newsom’s film The Great American Lie as “emotionally abusive.” The activities ask students to publicly reveal personal information and force commentary on their relative “privilege” and “oppression.”
Newsom’s divisive Covid policies and Jennifer’s films/curricula arguably fueled the youth mental health problem. However, by addressing it with nearly $5 billion and 10,000 school counselors, the Newsom’s generated a policy win for the governor and a business win for Siebel Newsom and her nonprofit, The Representation Project.
Between state funding, state regulation, policy advocacy and radical moralizing explicitly intended to shape social consciousness, Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s various government, private, public, and philanthropic “partners” have proven to be a powerful, self-reinforcing network.
Through the Office of First Partner, Siebel Newsom has nine dedicated staffers and a $1.2 million-dollar annual budget to help push the radical ideologies that her nonprofit films and curricula serve up in public school classrooms.
Helping secure nearly $5 billion in state funding for an additional 10,000 school counselors demonstrates the power of Siebel Newsom’s strategy.
Siebel Newsom used her government and personal platforms to advocate for more funding for children’s mental health, and those on the ground—in this case, school counselors— publicly consider using their new funding on her materials.
Political clout. Financial windfalls. Newsom, Inc.
NOTE: California’s Political Reform Act prohibits public officials from reaping any direct or indirect benefit from any official action. The two Newsom’s haven’t been accused of wrongdoing; however, the pattern that we’ve identified is troubling.
We requested comment from Gavin Newsom, The Office of Governor, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, The Office of First Partner, Loretta Whitson at the California Association of School Counselors, and The Representation Project. Only Loretta Whitson responded.
Newsome Twosome: Siebel Newsom’s Films – Shown In Middle Schools – Feature Porn, Radical Gender Ideologies, And Her Husband Gavin | OpenTheBooks.Substack | January 19, 2023
Newsom Twosome: Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s Charity Is Out Of Compliance But Solicits Donations From State Vendors & Governor’s Campaign Donors | OpenTheBooks.Substack | January 12, 2023
California Gov. Gavin Newsom Reaped $10.6 Million In Campaign Cash From 979 State Vendors Who Pocketed $6.2 Billion | OpenTheBooks.Substack.com | August 2022
Historic Announcement– California’s Books Are Open – 201,000 Vendors Received $87 Billion In State Payments | OpenTheBooks.Substack.com | August 2022
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