Two words Ed Lee doesn't want to hear

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There are two words no candidate wants to hear a month before Election Day:

"Criminal investigation."

I give District Attorney George Gascon credit -- I didn't think he'd ever really go after municipal corruption, but he's showing at least a bit of political spine here, launching an investigation into the dubious campaign contributions of Ed Lee. Lee's campaign immediately said there would be full cooperation:

Last week, Mayor Lee's campaign returned 23 contributions associated with Go Lorrie's Shuttle company as a result of the campaign's own concerns and compliance review. On Friday, the campaign reached out to the District Attorney's Office, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Ethics Commission and the Fair Political Practices Commission to offer its full assistance in any investigation or review. It is important to note that there is nothing about the District Attorney's statement or initiation of an investigation that suggests that Mayor Lee’s campaign is a target.

And at this point, there's no way to know how far the investigation will go or what it will turn up. But the very fact that the D.A. is looking into all of this looks bad for Lee.

And if Gascon's office scours not only the Go Lorrie's money but the rest of Lee's campaign contributions -- and the independent expenditure committees that aren't supposed to be coordinating with each other or the main campaign -- he might find more.

Bill Barnes, who works with the Lee campaign, told me that he was doing everything possible to make sure the contributions were all on the up-and-up. "I can't control the i.e.'s," he said, "but we are very careful to follow the law."

He also said that it's possible there were mistakes, like the Go Lorrie's money. "We're raising a lot of money in a short period of time," he said.

But you see, that's part of the problem. You enter the race late, refuse to accept public financing (and abide by spending limits) and start trying to raise more than a million bucks in a few weeks, and it's too easy to get sloppy. Add in the fact that people like Willie Brown, who never cared much for campaign contribution or ethics laws, are involved in the fundraising, and you have a recipe for real trouble.

 

Comments

any wrongdoing. Or conversely, drag this out until after the election.

But nobody could reasonably blame you for trying too hard . .

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

Just what San Francisco doesn't need. Another corrupt scumbag politician.
Can't wait till after he loses the mayor's race and then can't get re-appointed to his old job.
My guess is he'll sue the city and cost us a fortune on the way out.
This guy is a real zero-personality loser.

Posted by meatlock on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

ego in the way that Brown and Newsome had.

Your problem is that the voters seem to quite like that about Lee. He's getting support precisely because people see him as being calm, non-ideological, non-idiosyncratic and he just gets on with the job.

Daly had more "personality" than you can shake a stick at, and nobody would have wanted him as a Mayor.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

Daly won his second supervisor election against a -massive- Downtown onslaught against him.

He would be be -very- popular in a mayoral race, especially now that the shit is hitting the fan against Wall Street.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

He wouldn't be -very- popular because his name is poison in this town among people that aren't us committed progressive activists and his shrinking base in D6.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

The Downtown forces are only barely clinging to City Hall after -very- narrowly snagging it from progressives, and they had to pull some pretty amazing cynical somersaults to do it.

Head to head in this city (discounting heavy handed money influence) the progressives still outgun Downtown in sheer numbers and tenacity; and could therefore organize with Daly to victory.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

Eric, what kind of antidepressants and mood elevators would one need to take in order to observe current political conditions and come to that rosy conclusion?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

I'm not saying that we aren't getting our ass whooped for the moment. We are. But if you consider the relative numbers of both sides, and then take a look at what is happening in the financial district right now as we type, it looks like we're about to do just fine...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 7:24 pm

Lee told the Examiner during his endorsement interview that he would not disclose the names of his finance committee members. Are these people also involved with the IE’s? We will never know.

Our law banning contractors from making contributions -- people like the Go Lorrie folks for example -- but it does not ban these same contractors from being the middleman bundling contributions or soliciting contributions.

Who’s going to change that?

Posted by CitiReport on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

I hate to see Bill Barnes name come up with Lee. I guess he is just another opportunistic person in the politics of San Francisco.

Posted by Jerry Jarvis on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

Bill barnes is the scumbag campaign manager for Lee who worked for Daly, Michaela, and Fiona where everyone he worked with said he is an asshole.

Also Lee is paying Darlene Chiu PG&E consultant to be on his staff

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2011 @ 10:34 pm

Funny how that headline only reads "I hate to see Bill Barnes"

Posted by marcos on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

Yes, Gascon's office should "scour not only the Go Lorrie's money but the rest of Lee's campaign contributions." And David Waggoner is right on the money~

"Apparently, Conway believes poor and middle-class people have stolen the city from the super rich. He’s on a war path to take the city back!"

"Conway’s first recruit? Interim Mayor Ed Lee. Conway, a Twitter investor, has contributed $151 thousand to support Mayor Lee’s campaign. Lee will have to look long and hard to find the right thank you gift for Conway. Or is it the other way around? After all, Twitter’s sweetheart tax deal – worth $30 million – was championed by Lee. We may never know what the exact return on Conway’s $151 thousand investment will be. Twitter has very carefully avoided exceeding 500 shareholders, which would trigger public financial disclosures." [...]

"Conway has also apparently taken an interest in law enforcement in San Francisco. Already mentioned was Conway’s $35 thousand to harass homeless people. “It’s about survival,” Conway says. This year, District Attorney George Gascon got a mere $500 from Conway, while former Police Officer’s Association President Chris Cunnie got a whopping $25 thousand. I’m no venture capitalist, but I will venture that $25 thousand amounts to a “You fucking fuck, I’ll squash you like an ant” postcard to Ross Mirkarimi." [...]

"In a battle of the billionaires, we have Conway (welterweight, coming in at $25 thousand) and Warren Hellman (in the heavyweight class, at $100 thousand contributed to date – super heavyweight, if you count the $200 thousand he spent on an actuary) lined up behind Prop C, while Michael Moritz is bankrolling Prop D (super heavyweight, at $250 thousand). Both Prop C and D go after public employee pensions, the former championed by Lee, the latter by Public Defender Jeff Adachi." [...]

"As San Franciscans debate attacking public employee benefits and which candidate is more progressive, moderate or conservative, the Hellmans, Conways and Moritzs – the 1% class – must be clinking their champagne glasses in toast to their fabulous success: another election bought and paid for, another cycle of smoke and mirrors."

http://www.fogcityjournal.com/wordpress/3102/ron-conway-buying-our-democ...

Posted by Lisa on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 5:20 pm

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