Calls Grow For FBI To Launch Criminal Investigation Into Gavin Newsom

( – After revelations that California Gov. Gavin Newsom made a special exception benefiting a top donor in a new piece of legislation, Republicans in Sacramento are calling for an investigation into the Democratic governor.

The controversy began after a report from Bloomberg News which shined a light on a new state law that forces fast food restaurant owners to raise their minimum wage to $20 yet contains a special exception carved out by Newsom which benefits a major donor of his: billionaire Greg Flynn.

Flynn is the founder of Flynn Restaurant Group and Flynn Properties, also serving as chairman and CEO. The Flynn Restaurant Group is the world’s largest franchise operator, operating around 2,400 chain restaurants in 44 states and pulling in $3.7 billion in sales annually. The group employs approximately 73,000 Americans between Taco Bells, Applebee’s, Arby’s, Wendy’s, Pizza Huts, and Paneras.

Flynn benefitted from the new law because Panera Bread was exempt from the minimum wage change, which doesn’t include franchise chains that make and sell bread exclusively. The Bloomberg report claims that Newsom personally advocated for that “unusual exemption.” Aside from Panera Bread, Applebee’s is also exempt from the wage alteration because it’s not considered a fast food restaurant.

The report detailed the various connections between the two men, such as Flynn’s significant donations to the California governor’s political campaigns, a resort purchased by Flynn that’s managed by a company owned by Newsom, instances of Flynn bragging about being close with Newsom, and the fact that the two actually went to the same high school.

James Gallagher, leader of the California State Assembly Republicans, responded to the report on social media by asking if “any franchise” could “get an exemption” from the law if they simply donated over $150,000 to the California governor. Gallagher called the deal “crooked” and said it should be investigated.

Political science professor Dan Schnur, who is also an expert on government ethics, told reporters that Newsom is obligated to explain why chains like Panera should benefit from the minimum wage law through exemption. Schnur said that until the California governor does, most voters will likely “assume [Newsom] did a big favor for a big donor.”

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