Donations to Mayor Ed Lee’s campaign are under heavy scrutiny, following revelations that airport shuttle drivers and their family members might have been pressured to give the $500 maximum individual contribution around the same time a loading zone policy at San Francisco International Airport was modified by The City to benefit the shuttle company.
While Lee’s campaign says the potential wrongdoing is resolved because the $10,000 or so has been returned, the matter is now the subject of a state investigation through the Fair Political Practices Commission. Now City Attorney Dennis Herrera, a mayoral race rival, is calling for a criminal investigation from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Herrera wrote a three page letter alleging that the donations “may indicate felony and misdemeanor violations of state and local laws.”
Lee’s campaign spokesman, Tony Winnicker, said Herrera is abusing the power of his office and called the request for investigation politically motivated.
“He is destroying the integrity of the City Attorney’s Office by mixing his political campaign and his office’s legal responsibilities on a daily basis,” Winnicker said.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors president and candidate David Chiu agreed that an investigation into Lee’s donations is appropriate.
“City Hall cannot be for sale,” Chiu said in a statement. “Pay-to-play politics has no place in San Francisco, and it will have no place in a Chiu administration – you can count on that.”
Likewise, the mayoral campaign of Public Defender Jeff Adachi, called for an end to City Hall’s culture of “backroom deals and crony politics.”
“This is just another in a long line of questionable activities surrounding Ed Lee and his powerful special interest backers,” said Colin Dyer, Adachi’s field director. “He promised to be a different sort of mayor. Ed Lee is just more of the same.”