Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown discusses a bill with advisers including Executive Secretary Nancy McFadden. [Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press file]

By Jeff McDonald & Patrick McGreevy |
March 11, 2016 – 6 p.m.

A consumer advocacy group filed a complaint Friday with the state ethics agency seeking an investigation into whether the top aide to Gov. Jerry Brown influenced appointments to the state Public Utilities Commission while she owned stock in PG&E, an allegation rejected immediately by the Governor’s Office.

The group Consumer Watchdog filed a complaint with the state Fair Political Practices Commission against Nancy McFadden, who left Pacific Gas & Electric to serve as Brown’s executive secretary two days after he took office in 2011. State disclosure forms show that she owned up to $1 million worth of PG&E stock options that first year.

The formal complaint alleges McFadden violated the Political Reform Act “by using her official position to influence governmental decisions in which she knew she had a financial interest. Her actions impacted the value of the PG&E stock options she held.”

The complaint is based largely on emails between a regulator and utility company lobbyist discussing McFadden. The emails don’t come from McFadden herself, whose position is akin to a chief of staff.

Jamie Court, president of Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog, said there is no public record of McFadden recusing herself from the appointment process.

“The public deserves a straight answer about whether the governor’s top aide acted to help her former employer, PG&E, gain control of the Public Utilities Commission while holding six-figure stock options in the company,” Court said Friday.

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