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Newsom’s Cozy Ties with Top Lobbyist Showcased by Dinner Party Debacle



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Not every political operative can celebrate their 50th birthday with the governor of America’s most populous state during a pandemic.

Not every political operative is Jason Kinney.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is weathering a ferocious backlash for his decision to attend a celebration for Kinney on Nov. 6 at the French Laundry, a bucket list-level dining icon in Napa County. After the private dinner was exposed by the San Francisco Chronicle, Newsom said that while the outdoor meal did not violate coronavirus restrictions, he showed poor judgment in attending.

While the meal amplified criticism of Newsom’s coronavirus management, with the governor parrying accusations of hypocrisy, it also cast a brighter spotlight on Kinney and the dual clout he wields in the insular world of California politics.

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