Snooping on the governor

Published on

Sacramento Bee

When Gov. Gray Davis called a press conference last seek to support Sen. Jackie Speier’s financial privacy bill — after years of seemingly sitting on the sidelines — backers of the bill were struck by the timing.

One day earlier, the author of an opinion piece in a prominent state newspaper wrote that he had paid $26 to buy the governor’s Social Security number over the Internet.

Publicly, Davis was lighthearted about the purchase. He quipped at a press conference, “Is that all it’s worth?”

And Davis press secretary Steve Maviglio said the governor hadn’t read the article before he announced his support for the bill.

But the article’s author, consumer activist Jamie Court, thinks the tactic has potential. Court, who is preparing to wrangle votes out of the traditionally pro-business Assembly Banking Committee, said he has purchased the Social Security numbers of some particularly “problematic” members. He’s contemplating releasing them one digit at a time.

Consumer Watchdog
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