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In-Depth Interview: Investigator Derek Seidman Exposes Oil Lobbyist Who Influenced Jerry Brown

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Former CA Gov. Jerry Brown’s reputation as a climate change crusader has oil stains, as investigative journalist Derek Seidman detailed in December report.Seidman is co-author of the report “The California Oil Veto: The Lobbyist Behind Governor Jerry Brown’s Concessions to Big Oil” from the Public Accountability Initiative, based in Buffalo, NY.  Read the report here.

Lucie Gikovich served as Brown’s executive secretary when he was governor in the 1970’s and ’80’s.  As Oakland mayor, Brown hired Gikovich as the city’s Washington lobbyist, and she also lobbied at Platinum Advisors, whose founder Darius Anderson is a central player in Peter Byrne’s expose, detailed here.

When Brown returned to the governorship in 2010, Gikovich was at DC-based Crane Group, where she became a highly-paid fixer for oil and gas interests, including Phillips 66, Halliburton, Southern California Edison and its subsidiary, SoCalGas.  When visiting Washington, Brown would often stay at Gikovich’s house, and she has frequently been described as one of Brown’s “oldest friends and advisors”.

The role of Gikovich may explain why Brown’s celebrated extension of the cap and trade law, AB 32, in 2017 included concessions to oil and gas industries that were not reported by mainstream media, including the pre-emption of existing agencies like the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which was about to impose new regulations on Chevron’s refinery in Richmond.  We covered those issues in this podcast with scientist Greg Karras.

We also discuss the massive methane leak at Aliso Canyon in 2015-16, and Brown’s inaction for months.  Seidman explains how Gikovich lobbied Brown to veto a bill that would make it easier for victims to sue, and her payment from SoCalGas was funneled through Mercury Public Affairs.

Seidman reports that Brown’s limited response to the report was that he didn’t know Gikovich was lobbying for Phillips 66.