Gov. Newsom spends $1 billion in face mask deal with China, chooses Blue Shield to lead state vaccinations after monetary contributions

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Gov. Newsom has spent $1 billion in a controversial deal for face masks from China.

The company, BYD, has garnered scrutiny over the years.

Recently, Gov. Newsom chose nonprofit health insurer Blue Shield California to lead the state’s COVID-19 vaccine task force.

Blue Shield has been contributing money to Gov. Newsom for years, starting in 2018 with their roughly $1 million to support Newsom’s 2018 bid for governor.

In July 2019, the nonprofit contributed $31,000 to Gov. Newsom’s run for re-election in 2022 and $69,000 to Gov. Newsom’s ballot measure committee in the same month.

In November of 2020, Blue Shield contributed to Gov. Newsom’s ballot measure committee again, this time bringing the number up to $200,000.

And in February 2021, Blue Shield superseded the traditional bidding process and was awarded $15 million to lead the state’s vaccine distribution.

While Blue Shield is responsible for vaccine distribution, Kaiser Permanente is helping.

The traditional bidding process is intended to allow for a spectrum of companies to respond to contract opportunities in order to draw in the most cost-effective proposal and divert favoritism.

After CapRadio confirmed no bidding process took place, many have wondered if Gov. Newsom’s choice of Blue Shield was an act of favoritism.

However, during an emergency, such as the one California is still in now, the government can bypass that process of deterring favoritism.

Even so, experts have declared that Gov. Newsom, whose recall efforts have reached 1.5 million signatures, still needs to be conscious of the appearance of favoritism or conflicts of interest with donors.

John Cox, California businessman and Founder of C.H.A.N.G.E.-CA, joined KUSI to discuss the controversial deal and Gov. Newsom’s choice of Blue Shield.

Categories: California News, Coronavirus, Local San Diego News, Politics