A rouge agency runs amok with unchecked powers and a dubious agenda. Inquiries about are met with political dodges or an outright refusal to disclose. Secrecy and obfuscation are used by the agency to thwart further investigation. Undaunted, the hero presses on against the unsettling conspiratorial silence and what it conceals.
It sounds like a plot taken from a political thriller, like the Manchurian Candidate or the Bourne Identity movie franchise.
Instead, it is life imitating art. This is what has been happening at the California Air Resources Board (CARB). It is a scandal that is not only about demanding accountability for taxpayer dollars. It is a scandal about a collaborative effort by public officials to act with absolute impunity. Unaccountability run riot.
AB 32, California’s climate change law, gives CARB the enormous power to force industry to buy pollution credits; this massive tax increase will be passed on directly to consumers who will see a hike in their energy bills, food and gas costs. The cost burdens will be felt across all industries, which will either be forced to quit hiring or kill jobs in order to afford compliance, or flee the state of California altogether.
The entire process has so far been shrouded in secrecy with CARB officials refusing Democratic and Republican Legislators and public information requests to give a complete accounting for $57 million of taxpayer dollars spent to initially implement AB 32. CARB officials have developed a distinctly Jason Bourne-like amnesia when it comes to revealing almost anything.
More troubling, a special corporation was created and specifically exempted from public meeting law requirements. The corporation was created to manage the carbon trading auctions – the massive derivatives market for carbon credits that businesses will be forced into – apparently in complete secrecy, overseen by political appointees.
This is state government operating with absolute impunity. These are public servants that are completely unaccountable to the democratic process, and the public that CARB allegedly serves.
I commend whichever enterprising reporter is able to reveal where the money went and restore some level of transparency to this rouge agency and this scandal-in-waiting. CARB Officials’ obstructionist tactics have so far been completely successful.
An excellent summary is available here.