San Francisco City Attorney is running for Mayor. His campaign manager, Alex Tourk, is also a registered lobbyist. It is illegal for campaign consultants to lobby their clients.
By Luke Thomas
May 7, 2011
It hasn’t been a good week for mayoral contender Dennis Herrera, the San Francisco City Attorney entrusted to uphold the laws of the land, including campaign ethics laws.
According to a story first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Mr. Herrera’s mayoral campaign consultant, Alex Tourk, recently reported in required ethics filings that he has lobbied Mr. Herrera on behalf of several of his clients including California Pacific Medical Center, the San Francisco Police Officers Association, and a Stow Lake boathouse vendor.
A city law passed by the Board of Supervisors in 2004 to prevent pay-to-play politics prohibits campaign consultants from lobbying current or former clients. The ordinance was signed into law while Mr. Tourk served as then Mayor Gavin Newsom’s chief of staff.
Mr. Herrera has denied Mr. Tourk lobbied him and has referred further investigation of the matter to the Oakland City Attorney’s office.
As for Mr. Tourk, he initially claimed ignorance of the law when questioned by the Chronicle, but after talking with “election law experts”, Mr. Tourk said his conversations with Mr. Herrera did not amount to lobbying.
It will be interesting to see how this story plays out in the coming weeks and months, particularly as the mayor’s race nears the red zone when candidates are looking more desperately for ammunition to knock out their opponents. Mr. Herrera is considered a frontrunner in the race for mayor.
In the meantime, enjoy the above video by EyeOnSF which parody’s a conversation between Mr. Tourk and Mr. Herrera about Mr. Tourk’s alleged lobbying activities.