Adachi Accuses Lee of “Knowingly”
Breaking Campaign Election Law

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

Published on November 07, 2011 with 3 Comments

According to an ethics complaint filed today, the Ed Lee campaign distributed two sets of illegal door-hangers over the weekend.

By Luke Thomas

November 7, 2011

San Francisco Public Defender and mayoral candidate Jeff Adachi today accused interim Mayor Ed Lee of “knowingly” breaking campaign election laws.

“The evidence unequivocally shows that Mayor Lee illegally used funds solicited by his mayoral campaign to support other ballot measures,” Adachi said in a statement. “This is expressly prohibited by law and constitutes a blatant violation of the City’s ethic laws. This violation constitutes irrefutable proof that Ed Lee is using his $2.6 million dollar war chest to knowingly and deliberately violate our City’s campaign ethics laws.”

According to an ethics complaint filed today, the Ed Lee campaign distributed two sets of illegal door-hangers over the weekend. The door-hangers, which were paid for by the Ed Lee for Mayor 2011 campaign, allegedly contained YES and NO endorsements for several measures on the November ballot including Proposition D, a pension reform measure sponsored by Adachi and opposed by Lee.

While candidates for office may endorse ballot initiatives and appear on literature funded by ballot measure committees, ethic laws strictly prohibit candidates from using funds raised by their candidate committees to support or oppose ballot measures.

“Appointed Mayor Ed Lee knowingly violated the provisions of the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance, which forbids a candidate for elected office to use funds solicited for his or her campaign in order to support or oppose a ballot measure,” stated former Ethics Commissioner and complaint filer Paul Melbostad. “It is sad to me that Ed Lee, who was the first Whistleblower Officer—appointed by Mayor Agnos in 1988, and; therefore, very well-versed with the policies behind the local Government Ethics laws, would try to evade them by claiming that he is not experienced or knowledgeable as to the local ethics laws.”

It is the latest of several allegations of impropriety to be leveled at the Lee campaign which is currently under investigation for alleged criminal voter fraud and campaign money laundering.

The penalties for violating the Ordinance include a $5 thousand fine for each violation, punishable up to six-months in jail.

Responding, Lee campaign spokesperson Tony Winnicker wrote via email:

“We know we’re less than 24 hours away from the Election and at the height of silly season when the attacks on Mayor Lee have degenerated into desperate and false accusations about doorhangers. First, the Mayor’s campaign can print doorhangers about the Mayor’s campaign that include his position and support for ballot measures that he introduced, just like many other candidates list their positions and support for ballot measures.

“I expect several more accusations and charges against Mayor Lee to fly in this final day, as many of these guys seem hellbent on taking the low road all the way down to their defeat.”

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the SanFranciscoSentinel.com, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched FogCityJournal.com. The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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  • Ann Garrison

    I just posted this to my FB page. Still no federal election monitiors or investigators that I know of in sight, so if Ed Lee “wins,” I hope the Board refuses to certify the election. But, I suppose this is wishful thinking because David Chiu and John Avalos would both have to recuse themselves.

  • seej

    That flyer is a telling sumary of Lee’s campaign:

    “Please shield high paid employees like me from pension reform (Prop C) and let’s tax the poor (Prop G) and middle-class homeowners (prop B) for the potholes I never got fixed.

  • Ralph

    A late 11th hour “surprise” that probably won’t make much difference in the election results. Eighteen percent of all absentee ballots have already been cast or 8 percent of total registered voters. Assuming Ed Lee gets elected, I expect a tumultuous term in office with not much getting done.