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The Silicon Valley Bank Coverup – And The Roads Leading To Gov. Gavin Newsom
The bank just deleted their Twitter account. So much for transparency from a bank that is now 100-percent backed by taxpayers.
Update: On March 20, 2023 Silicon Valley Bank Capital President John China was removed from the Newsom’s California Partners Project's website as a board director and as a member of the their Gender Equity Advisory Counsel. Interestingly, Silicon Valley Bank Capital, the investment banking arm, is still listed by the Newsom nonprofit as a “partner.”
A new director appeared, Dr. Devika Bhushan, an "equity-focused pediatrician" who served as California's Acting Surgeon General from February to August 2022. On March 21, we reached out to the nonprofit for comment, and shortly thereafter Dr. Bhushan was removed from the website. However, we anticipate a future announcement of her board membership.
Last Friday, when the Silicon Valley Bank quickly imploded and rocked the U.S. financial sector, it was taken over by federal regulators. The bank was known for backing tech start-ups, and had come under fire for prioritizing investments into climate change and social ventures rather than those that could make a predictable return.
The executive roster of the bank had a questionable track record. For example, SVB's Chief Administrative Officer, Joseph Gentile, was the CFO of Lehman Brothers investment bank when it collapsed. SVBs Chief Risk Officer position was left vacant for nine months through January 2023.
The CEO, Greg Becker, was a director at the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank from 2019 until termination on Friday. Becker’s also under investigation for selling $3.6 million in bank stock during a period when SVB was in the markets to raise $2 billion from investors— an effort to keep the bank solvent.
Silicon Valley Bank’s “Behested” $100,000 Gift To Newsom’s Nonprofit
Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com found that California Governor Gavin Newsom, through a nonprofit organization his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom founded, the California Partners Project, has very close ties to the bank.
In 2021, SVB gave $100,000 in corporate gifts to the Newsom nonprofit. These gifts are so intertwined with the Newsom’s that they are listed as a matter of California ethics law on a state government website, California Fair Political Practices Commission.
All nonprofit donors are listed on the state website if they are “behested” gifts. The term “behested” means “at the request, suggestion, or solicitation of, or made in cooperation, consultation, coordination or concert with the public official.”
In this case, it’s the governor who behested the Silicon Valley Bank $100,000 gift. It’s the governor who requested, suggested, solicitated or cooperated, coordinated or acted in concert to procure the gift. However, the mandatory-state-disclosed conflict-of-interest listing also names his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom. That’s because, Mrs. Newsom is also a public official, the first ever “First Partner.”
Siebel Newsom’s public duties including running the Office of First Partner which was created by the governor shortly after inauguration. Since 2019, the governor allocated nine staffers and nearly $5 million in taxpayer funds for his wife’s office.
However, that’s only part of the story.
California Partners Project and Silicon Valley Bank
Silicon Valley Bank and its executives played a major role in the Newsom nonprofit, the California Partners Project, since its founding. The President of Silicon Valley Capital – the investment banking arm of the bank – is John China. Mr. China is a 27-year SVB veteran. He’s also a founding board member of the Newsom nonprofit. Even today, China is still listed as a director on the nonprofit’s website.
The California Partners Project’s first board chair, Elizabeth Gore, was also connected to SVB. Her company, Hello Alice, which connects entrepreneurs to resources to grow their companies, received funding from SVB.
John China serves on the board of Hello Alice.
According to China’s LinkedIn profile, SVB Capital managed $5.5 billion in capital funds. China and his group was a primary funder to the tech startups that we are hearing about in the news.
Screenshot from John China’s LinkedIn page
California Partners Project (CPP) was founded in 2020 in part to support California’s gender quota law for corporate boards, a goal which SVB supported through a $100,000 gift. That funding went towards a 2021 report calling the gender quota law an “inspiring success story of the ability of motivated businesses to adapt, evolve, and grow.” China and Gore contributed to the report sharing their insights.
SVB promoted this report in a Tweet and indicated that the bank’s goals and the Newsom nonprofit goals were aligned. SVB deleted its Twitter account on March 13; however, our auditors had proactively captured the Tweet.
In 2022 the law was struck down by California courts on the basis of discrimination after litigation by Judicial Watch.
We reached out to China and Gore for comment. Gore responded saying that she volunteered as board chairman, served a two year term, and a new board chair was named. She also said that she doesn’t work with Siebel Newsom today.
Captured from the SVB Twitter account before it was deleted by the bank.
With $5.5 billion under his supervision, Mr. China had tremendous influence over the start-up and venture capital industry. China also had tremendous influence over the Newsom’s California Partners Project.
California Partners Project and The Office of Governor – Office of First Partner
In its recent job advertisement for a new executive director, the California Partners Project gives a succinct description of what the organization does and how it relates to the Office of the First Partner:
“California Partners Project collaborates with and strengthens the priorities of the Office of the First Partner, specifically the California for All Women and California for All Kids initiatives. CPP and the Office of the First Partner have a common goal: to better serve the people of California by bringing additional awareness, data, and resources to bear so that California remains a leader when it comes to supporting women and youth."
In other words, California Partners Project is a nonprofit extension of the Office of the First Partner, bringing in more staffers, board members, and resources to accomplish Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s goals.
As the job description says:
“The executive director should model the Office of the First Partner’s core values throughout research, communications, and programs, and foster an internal culture that reflects them. The executive director will actively partner with Board members, staff, funders, and collaborators to meet the moment and further."
The California Partners Project was founded to push Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s “First Partner” public policy agenda. As a founding member, the Silicon Valley Bank played a major role. Their executive, John China was on the founding board and the bank gave a $100,000 gift.
The founding Chairman of the nonprofit, Elizabeth Gore, was the entrepreneur that founded Hello Alice – an entity where SVB executive John China also sits on the board.
The state ethics laws forced the disclosure of the six-figure, $100,000 Silicon Valley Bank gift to the Newsom nonprofit. Federal regulators should force the return of the gift.
In the absence of federal or state regulatory action, The California Partners Project should return their $100,000 gift to the bank, its startup entrepreneurs, and its depositors.
Further investigations should be conducted into how SVB might have leveraged its funding and influence on behalf of the Newsom administration, and if those decisions put its financial security at risk.
Silicon Valley Bank just deleted their Twitter account. So much for transparency from a bank that is now 100-percent backed by taxpayers.
We reached out to the Gavin Newsom, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the California Partners Project, John China and Silicon Valley Bank and none responded by publication. If we receive comment, we’ll update the piece as soon as possible.
Newsom, Inc. — The Newsoms create problems, "solve" them, and cash checks along the way. | OpenTheBooks.Substack | February 12, 2023
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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