Gov. Jerry Brown said today that revelations that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection hid settlement funds for several years in a nonprofit account amount to a "boring story," though he said the administration would look into it.
The Democratic governor said at a business event in West Sacramento that he had not read The Bee's report this morning that his administration for two years used a share of new fire fees for wildfire investigations, an arrangement the Legislature's attorney considers illegal.
Nor, Brown said, had he read earlier reports by the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal that Cal Fire since 2005 directed a share of wildfire settlements to a $3.66 million, off-budget fund managed by the California District Attorneys Association.
"I find it a relatively boring story, to tell you the truth," Brown said. "I always like stories that say we've got more money than I thought we had."
However, Brown said he will "certainly look into it."
'We're not going to not take it seriously," Brown said. "If there's a few million bucks laying around and somebody didn't put in the right account, we'll figure it out."
Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, issued a statement criticizing Brown's characterization of the revelations as "boring."
"After the $40 million state parks fund scandal, the governor assured us there were no other hidden pots of money to be found in the depths of state government," Huff said. "But just weeks later, we see there's a completely different money-hiding scandal unfolding at CalFire. I can't speak for the governor, but 'boring' is the last word I would use to describe these very disturbing revelations of hidden funds."
Editor's note: Post updated at 1:45 p.m. to include Huff's remarks.