Governor Jerry Brown’s administration is refusing to release public records detailing California’s failure to woo Tesla Motors to build their $5 billion gigafactory in the Golden State.
The state’s public records could verify the governor’s alleged claim that the reason California lost the multibillion dollar deal with the automaker to Arizona is because “Tesla wanted a massive upfront cash payment that I don’t think would be fair to the taxpayers of California.”
Brown released that claim during Thursday’s gubernatorial debate in which his Republican opponent, Neel Kashkari, persevered and the same day California lost its potentially massive deal with Tesla in which Brown said his administration had “fought hard” to reel in over 6,500 jobs that a deal with the automaker would have created in the state.
If the above claims are accurate, as the governor states, why then is the Brown administration’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) refusing to release these public documents?
After some digging, investigative news site CalNewsroom.com sent a letter requesting that GO-Biz release that public information. Their request was denied. However, they were issued a letter in response that states those documents contain scandalous information that the Brown administration apparently does not want the public to see. GO-Biz’s deputy director of legal affairs Grace Arupo Rodriguez had this to say in her letter:
If GO-Biz were to provide you access to all the documents you seek, highly sensitive information would be disclosed that would jeopardize the possibility of the state of California being able to compete to attract companies like Lockheed Martin, Northrop or Tesla. Disclosure of such information would be detrimental to these efforts and would seriously impede California’s ability for grow its economy.
The public records Brown’s administration refuses to release purportedly also contain details about several “successful corporate welfare packages for defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman,” according to CalNewsroom.
According to California state law, “if Lockheed Martin and Tesla lobbyists had a significant hand in writing bills that created tax breaks for these companies, the lawmakers are under obligation to disclose this fact,” said executive director of California Common Cause Kathay Fang to CalNewsroom.
Several email correspondences and less-sensitive information that GO-Biz did release can be found here.