Three of District Attorney George Gascón’s opponents in the November election banded together Wednesday, issuing a joint statement asking that he recuse himself from any investigation of whether campaign finance laws were broken by groups pushing for Mayor Ed Lee to run for election.
The group was referring to a recent letter, spurred by media reports, from retired judge Quentin Kopp calling for an investigation into possible connections between city contractor Recology and “Run, Ed, Run,” an effort to draft Lee into the race. Lee has since announced he will run.
“Having only seen what has been printed in the media, we cannot and do not speak to the merit of the underlying allegations,” candidates Sharmin Bock, David Onek and Bill Fazio wrote in a statement. “But public trust is absolutely essential to the effective functioning of our government.”
While the three said it was the district attorney’s job to enforce San Francisco ethics laws, they wrote, “In the interest of public confidence in the integrity of our government, Interim DA Gascón has a duty to recuse himself from the decisions in this case and potential investigations into this matter, given his personal and political ties to parties involved.”
Though the candidates did not mention any names specifically, they were referring to media reports that Gascón had discussions with Chinatown power broker Rose Pak and former Mayor Willie Brown prior to his decision to accept former mayor Gavin Newsom’s request to appoint the former police chief as district attorney in January.
They also noted that one of Gascón’s prosecutors, Victor Hwang (also not mentioned by name), was a co-chair of "Run, Ed, Run".
The three called on Gascón to ask an outside agency such as the California Attorney General’s Office or the U.S. Attorney’s Office to conduct an investigation.
Gascón’s campaign did not immediately respond to calls for comment.