DUBLIN, CA–The 2016 election cycle will be memorable for many years. WikiLeaks’ publishing of hacked email accounts even reached the Tri-Valley when the East Bay Times published a story over this past weekend that included current Dublin Unified School District Trustee Megan Rouse.
Rouse has served the school district since 2013 when she was appointed to a vacancy on the board. She is currently serving as the Vice President and is seated through 2018. The published story was notable as it cited two primary factors. For one, it cited business relationships fostered by her father, John Podesta. Mr. Podesta is currently serving as the campaign chair for presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. Secondly, a hacked email made mention of the potential solicitation of a campaign contribution on behalf of his daughter for election to the DUSD board.
The validity of these email communications cannot be 100% verified. With the story now a part of the public domain, we offered Trustee Rouse an opportunity to respond to the East Bay Times story. These are her words:
I imagine that most folks around Dublin were surprised to see me swept into the WikiLeaks feeding frenzy. I know I was. Indeed, it still doesn’t seem entirely real to me.
I’ve never made a habit of discussing my dad’s work because I am by nature a fairly private person, national politics are so polarizing and, up until recently at least, many people hadn’t heard of John Podesta as most of his work is behind the scenes. Of course that changed when his personal email was hacked by the Russian government and released by WikiLeaks in the midst of a heated Presidential election.
Now that the word is out I’ll go ahead and say it – I could not be more proud of my father’s life’s work. John Podesta is among the most accomplished public servants and public policy executives of his generation. And as the head of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, I believe that he’s currently leading the most important political endeavor of my lifetime. So while I recognize the “anti-establishment” mood that exists in America today, I have tremendous respect for our public institutions and public servants, and I make no apologies for my father’s work advancing progressive policies.
My dad has always been passionate about our climate and taking care of our planet. Growing up, the 1990 Earth Day poster by Robbie Conal hung in our home as a symbol of that commitment. This dedication continues today, including his efforts on the Paris agreement regarding greenhouse gasses.
Like most people, my dad believes that renewable energy is a key part of the solution to global climate change, so it was a natural fit for him to sit on the board of Joule Unlimited, which is an innovative renewable energy technology startup in Massachusetts, and he was compensated with shares of stock in the company. Please note in particular that the links between Joule and Russian uranium interests that have been cited in right wing blogs are completely fabricated and have no basis in fact.
When he went to work for President Obama in 2014, he was asked by the White House ethics officials to divest the Joule shares. Entirely above board and with the approval of the White House Counsel and government ethics officials, he resigned from the board, gave the shares to his adult children, including me, and recused himself of any matter related to Joule. A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a straightforward way for multiple people to hold an asset together. My siblings and I formed Leonidio LLC, and the gifted Joule shares were placed in it. As the oldest child, I became the managing member, and used my home address for Leonidio LLC. I have complied with all the rules and regulations for the LLC, including my responsibility as an elected official to report my ownership in Leonidio LLC as an asset on my annual Form 700.
I also wanted to address the fundraising I did for my 2014 campaign for Dublin School board. I grew up in DC, and during the summer of 2014, I went back to my hometown for a fundraiser. Hosted by my family, it was attended largely by long time family friends. Though some of them have recognizable names and positions, these are all the folks that watched me grow up, attended my wedding 20 years ago, and remain close family friends. They also value education and public service. All of the contributions I received throughout my campaign were properly reported on my Form 460 filings with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters. I remain deeply grateful to the Dublin community for the honor to serve on our school board.
I have to admit, I wrestled with sharing my comments before or after the election – given the critical importance of this election at the national and local levels, I did not want to bring the attention to myself. However, I could not leave the crazy conspiracy theories unchallenged. It is my belief and hope that presenting the facts will clarify any outstanding questions.
We would like to thank Ms. Rouse for her willingness to share her viewpoint in the response to the recently published article. Given the climate in this election cycle, it is acutely necessary to solicit the views on all issues.