Brandon Rittiman, ABC10
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office exerted control over a powerful state agency that is supposed to operate independently, “micromanaging” decisions big and small at the California Public Utilities Commission according to its former executive director.
“We do whatever the governor tells us to do, period,” former CPUC executive director Alice Stebbins said. “You don’t do anything without [Gov. Newsom’s] staff reviewing it or talking to you or approving it. And that’s the way it was.”
Internal CPUC documents obtained by ABC10 reveal the agency took direction from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office and even submitted its work to the governor’s staff for multiple levels of “approval.”
The records show that on at least one occasion, the need to secure approval from Newsom’s office delayed CPUC business for a matter of days, frustrating the agency’s employees.
The documents were obtained as part of ABC10’s FIRE – POWER – MONEY investigation, which will examine how the state government under Gov. Newsom responded to PG&E’s crimes by offering the company financial protection.