Newsom is cutting huge, secret deals for coronavirus in a hurry. Lawmakers want to know more

Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart first wondered if his satellite-launching company could help California build more ventilators on a Saturday morning in March while reading about shortages forcing doctors in other parts of the world to ration the lifesaving machines. He reached out to a friend who knows Gov. Gavin Newsom personally. By about 8 p.m., after a flurry of emails, Hart was meeting with the state’s top emergency medical services official and a UC Irvine doctor working to develop a simplified version of the machine called a bridge ventilator. Three days later, a team of Virgin Orbit engineers who normally design rockets had developed its first prototype