Westlands lobbying firm heavily involved in plan to export Mojave Desert Water to San Diego County
The law/lobbying firm that represents the Westlands Water District in Washington, D.C., for $20,000 a month, is also invested in Cadiz Inc., a firm which wants to mine groundwater in the Mojave Desert, according to a report from the Voice of San Diego website, which is a non-profit organization that undertakes investigative journalism.
According to the article written by Will Carless, Christine Frahm is a shareholder in the Denver-based law firm of Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber and Schreck. She is also a former chairwoman of the San Diego County Water Authority, which has authority to seek new water supplies for the county's water districts. Frahm has been heavily involved in San Diego County water politics for years and currently serves both as an attorney and "consultant" for the Water Authority via a multi-million dollar contract with the Brownstein law firm. I have blogged on the Brownstein/Westlands connection in the past. You can read my prior articles by entering the keyword Brownstein in my home page search engine.
The Cadiz project, to mine groundwater beneath 11,000 acres of farmland below the Mojave Desert has been promoted for two decades but has been blocked by environmental groups. Another shareholder attorney at the Brownstein law firm, Scott Slater, was named CEO of the Cadiz company in February of this year. And Cadiz recently signed a contract with Brownstein promising the law firm two hundred thousand shares if the project actually gets approved and implemented. Carless said the Brownstein stock in Cadiz could be worth as much as $135 million, if the project comes on line.
Carless writes that in Frahm's current role "she's involved, at least indirectly, in shaping policies that could have a direct impact on the financial success of the Cadiz project and, in turn, the value of Brownstein's shares in the company." Frahm declined to comment for the Voice of San Diego article. Water Authority officials said they are aware of Brownstein's stake in Cadiz but insisted Frahm is not violating any legal ethics rule by involvement in both Cadiz and the Water Authority.
Carless's article is well written and definitely worth a read.