Faced with a pandemic that has put millions of Californians out of work and eviscerated businesses large and small, Gov. Gavin Newsom promised that “health and science” would guide state officials in repairing the economy and steering it toward recovery.
But as Newsom rapidly reopened the state in May, he also received advice from an all-star roster of business titans. The Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery is a 108-member group that counts former California governors, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook,Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger and former Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen among its members.
For all the boldface names and huge stakes, little is known about the task force, including how extensive a role the group played in shaping the decisions to reopen California.
The task force has operated almost entirely behind closed doors, and those appointed were not required to submit state government financial disclosure forms listing their assets and business interests, which would show potential conflicts. Newsom administration officials said the task force is just an advisory panel and has no authority to make policy, and noted that the meetings are private so members can share their opinions openly.
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