January 8, 2003
Honorable John Burton, President Pro Tempore
California State Senate
State Capitol, Room 205
Sacramento, CA 95814
Via Facsimile & US Mail
Dear Senator Burton:
Governor Davis has given power to craft his current budget proposal to Phil Isenberg and Patrick Johnston, two lobbyists who represent several of the most influential industries in California. We respectfully that ask that you request that the State Auditor investigate and report on the efficacy of the Governor’s continued practice of using private lobbyists as government advisors.
According to filings with the Secretary of State’s office, in 2001-02 alone Phil Isenberg’s firm was paid $147,000 by Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, $183,000 by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and $236,000 by FPL Energy. Johnston’s current clients include Health Net of California and Pacific Life Insurance Company. All of these clients have significant interests in the budget debate.
Johnston and Isenberg’s role in the budget process continues the Governor’s disturbing trend of assembling an inner circle of advisers from outside lobbyists who are not employed by the state and do not have to abide by conflict of interest laws. For example, Garry South served as the Governor’s chief advisor while being employed by a firm that represented many industries in the Capitol. Darius Anderson, who was privy to similar inner circle conversations, counted Calpine, General Motors and PG&E as clients of his firm while each company had significant interests before the legislature and the Governor.
The Auditor’s input on the efficacy of Governor Davis’s continued use of non-governmental employees in key positions of governmental decision-making is much needed.