As wildfires ravaged their state throughout the month of November, prominent California lawmakers took a trip to Hawaii with representatives from utility companies, according to a Fox News report published Monday.
Top officials from the Golden State took their annual retreat to the Fairmont Kea Lani resort on Maui, where they were lobbied by utility companies not to hold them responsible for damages, reports The New York Times. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) could be on the hook for roughly $30 billion in damages. (RELATED: California Wildfires Burned The Equivalent Of 7 San Franciscos, Torched 6,800 Buildings, Left Dozens Dead)
The annual event was hosted by the Independent Voter Project, and was attended by numerous lawmakers and PG&E representatives. The bipartisan group of lawmakers in attendance were California Assembly members Frank Bigelow, Bill Brough, Ian Calderon, Jim Cooper, Tom Daly, Heath Flora, Jim Frazier, Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Freddie Rodriguez and Blanca Rubio and State Sens. Ben Hueso and Cathleen Galgiani according to Consumer Watchdog.
“We were shocked to learn that while many wildfire victims fled for their lives in Paradise and Malibu this November, utility executives and lobbyists for California’s big utilities were wining and dining 12 influential state legislators in a different paradise — Wailea, Maui,” Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court wrote in a scathing letter to members of the California state Senate and Assembly. “The timing of this gathering is beyond the pale.
Consumer Watchdog dubbed the 12 lawmakers the “Wailea 12,” and noted that together they received more than $630,000 in campaign contributions from utility companies.
The major fires burned hundreds of thousands of acres of lands and claimed 85 lives.