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Talk about your unfortunate timing. On Sept. 9, a natural gas line in San Bruno exploded, killing four people and destroying dozens of homes. Pacific Gas and Electric has been on the hot seat ever since, answering questions about gas line safety and responding to charges that neighbors in the area complained about the smell of gas in the area for weeks before the accident. The very next day, PG&E gave $35,000 to Alex Padilla’s ballot measure committee. Never mind for a moment that these legislator-run ballot measure committees are a Grand Canyon-sized loophole in state campaign finance laws. But given the fact that PG&E is now coming under scrutiny for possible safety lapses in the San Bruno explosion, and given that Padilla, as chairman of the Senate Utilities Committee, will be holding investigative hearings focused on the incident, the appearance of the money at that particular point in time is a bit unseemly. Padilla’s office says the timing was just an unfortunate coincidence, and there was no connection between the timing of the donation and the events in San Bruno. That being said, we’re sure PG&E is going to wind up spending a heck of a lot more than $35,000 for its role in this tragedy before all is said and done…


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