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Home Elections Campaign Trail Big donor supports GOP Senate campaign, Lindsey Graham … and Jessica Ho, Sonja Trauss, and Christine Johnson

Big donor supports GOP Senate campaign, Lindsey Graham … and Jessica Ho, Sonja Trauss, and Christine Johnson

Some question the role of Diane Wilsey in pushing the GOP agenda -- and promoting three SF supervisor candidates

Some of the 2018 contributions from Diana "DeDe" Wilsey's real-estate firm. Source: OpenSecrets

In the wake of the horrifying Kavanaugh hearings, it seems likely most San Franciscans are hoping that the GOP loses control of both the House and the Senate in the fall.

But a prominent San Francisco society figure has given more than $500,000 in 2018 to help keep Republicans running Congress.

Some of the 2018 contributions from Diana “DeDe” Wilsey’s real-estate firm. Source: OpenSecrets

Diane Wilsey, through her real-estate firm, gave $300,000 to the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee and $100,000 to the Republican National Senate Committee, campaign finance records show.

Wilsey donated the individual maximum, $5,400, to Sen. Lindsey Graham, a fervent supporter of Kavanaugh who called last week’s hearing and the allegations of sexual assault against the judge “despicable.”

DeDe Wilsey, patron of the DeYoung museum, is also a patron of the GOP

And she’s also pouring money into electing Jessica Ho in District 4 and Sonja Trauss and Christine Johnson in District 6.

Wilsey also gave $250,000 to Progress SF, an IE controlled by tech plutocrat Ron Conway that has spent more than $180,000 supporting Ho and another $250,000 supporting Trauss and Johnson, according to Ethics Commission filings.

The Trauss and Johnson IE that got the Progress SF money is called San Franciscans for Change.

And that’s just as of Sept. 22. There could be far more money poured into these key district races, which will determine whether Mayor London Breed has a majority to support her policies.

Candidates have no control over IEs; by law, they have to be entirely separate operations. So Ho, Trauss, and Johnson can’t return that money or influence who gives to help them get elected.

But some say it’s a bit alarming that a person who thinks the Republican Party should control Congress, and is supporting one of Kavanaugh’s strongest allies, also thinks Ho, Trauss, and Johnson should be running San Francisco.

Trauss and Johnson did not respond to my emails seeking comment. Christian Kropff, campaign director for Ho, said that “Jessica’s campaign has no control over who contributes to any IE in the race. Jessica’s campaign is focused on the issues of the district and finding solutions to the problems that district 4 residents face everyday.”

But Edward Wright, a spokesperson for the Gordon Mar D4 campaign, told me that “it’s alarming that the same people who are aligned with Trump Republicans – and especially Lindsey Graham, who has been the strongest voice to silence women – are trying to influence a San Francisco election with big money. These are not San Francisco values. The Sunset needs someone who can stand up for the people who live here.”

Matt Haney, who is running in D6, told me that Wilsey “does not sound like someone who shares my values, so I should not be surprised that she is spending all this money to defeat me. Her donations ago against SF values. It’s ironic that they are calling their IE San Franciscans for change, because I don’t think this is the kind of change San Franciscans want.’

Haney noted: “It’s important for people to understand where all this TV and direct-mail money is coming from.”