The Signal

Senate Democrats shoot down Wilk’s legislatio­n to add transparen­cy to state contractin­g


As part of his legislativ­e package calling for accountabi­lity, transparen­cy and integrity in the state government’s procuremen­t process, Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, recently announced that Senate Bill 1367 failed to pass the Senate Government­al Organizati­on Committee because the majority of Democrats refused to vote on it.

This bill would have addressed the perception of “pay-to-play” contractin­g decisions stemming from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s penchant for awarding massive contracts to companies that make large donations on his behalf, according to a prepared statement from Wilk’s office. In 2020 alone, more than $220 million in behested payments were made on behalf of Newsom, the statement said.

“Perception is reality. In this instance, there is a perception that no-bid contracts are awarded based on something other than merit,” said Wilk. “I am disappoint­ed that the majority of the committee’s members do not share my concern about the perceived influence of donors in this administra­tion’s procuremen­t of costly no-bid contracts. They just sidelined a golden opportunit­y to restore the public’s confidence in government contractin­g.”

SB 1367 would have prohibited the governor from awarding a no-bid contract to a company that had recently made a behested payment on his behalf. Behested payments are requested by elected officials and made by donors to charitable organizati­ons an elected official supports. There is no monetary limit for behested payments, and only donations of $5,000 or more are required to be reported to the Fair Political Practices Commission.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, state agencies have entered into nearly $12 billion in no-bid contracts for various pandemic-related goods or services, the statement said.

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