Reporting Sam Shane
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – After declining several interview requests regarding an On The Money investigation of governor-appointed officials defying an executive order on travel, Gov. Jerry Brown gave the cold shoulder to a CBS13 producer.
After walking away from an On The Money producer after a press conference, Gov. Brown turned back to call him “a clown,” as the CBS13 camera kept rolling.
“We did a story last night on travel abuse,” producer Matt Schrader said. “Are you looking into that at all?”
Gov. Brown told CBS13 he would look into it, stressing he had not heard of the issue On The Money first brought to his office’s attention in mid January.
Schrader told Gov. Brown his office declined to comment on On The Money’s investigation.
“You guys gotta get me the story ahead of time so I can get the answers,” Gov. Brown said.
“We sent it to you a week ago,” said the producer.
“I didn’t see you in my office,” Gov. Brown said, not stopping to answer our questions. “You need to come in person.”
In reality, CBS13′s requests for interview began Jan. 15 and went unreturned until Jan. 23, when the Governor’s office declined our interview and directed us to the very CalVet officials that were the subject of our CalVet Travel Club investigation.
CalVet told CBS13 it wasn’t concerned about its own spending on travel, which goes against Executive Order B-06-11 and banned non-essential travel.
On The Money’s investigation showed how five top officials at the department of veterans affairs have spent $82,000 in 18 months on trips that the Governor himself has defined as unnecessary travel.
Records show the officials took weekend trips to Southern California, where some of them have homes, and many of those trips were for events that are prohibited in an executive order issued by the Governor in 2011.
“Will you look into your own appointees defying your executive order?” Schrader said.
“Which executive order?” Gov. Brown said, again walking away.
Gov. Brown trumpeted the executive order at the time it was issued, promising huge savings to taxpayers.
The Governor’s office told CBS13 the order had saved approximately $85 million in savings and waste.
But when Schrader pressed him about the frequent flier miles being wracked up by his political appointees, he turned back to call out our producer.
“This guy’s a clown here,” he said, pointing at Schrader.
“Will you talk to us?” Schrader responded.
“You make a little appointment, talk to [my assistant], we’ll look at your reports, we’ll do it right.”
The producer agreed and Gov. Brown left.
The Governor’s office is yet to respond to CBS13′s request to interview with Gov. Brown.