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Saturday, September 25, 2021

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News + PoliticsCrimeThe big GOP, real-estate, and tech money behind the Boudin recall effort

The big GOP, real-estate, and tech money behind the Boudin recall effort

Many of the same individuals and corporations who tried to defeat the progressives last year -- including Trump allies -- are now trying to oust the elected DA

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Gavin Newsom is essentially running against Donald Trump in the recall. His ads, which are running on TV and are filling my Facebook feed, call the recall an effort by “the same Republicans who refused to accept the election results” and “are passing voter suppression laws across the country.”

Now, the ads say, these Trumpers “have set their sights on California.”

Chesa Boudin won the election. People who supported other candidates don’t seem to want to accept that.

Newsom is not wrong: The recall is, indeed, an effort driven by the GOP, which is way out of power in this state and has elected only one governor in the past 26 years – through a recall.

But while the news is focused on his campaign and his ads, there’s been less attention to another recall effort that is, to at least some extent, funded by people connected to Trump allies.

The campaign to recall San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, records show, has raised much of its money from groups funded by some of the national GOP’s most reliable donors.

The way these folks move money around, it can be hard to track the actual people who are putting up the cash. What they typically do is set up state-registered committees, which have different disclosure deadlines from San Francisco committees, then run the money from one to another so the average voter doesn’t always know who is paying for which ads.

But with a little research, it’s easy to show that the big money behind the recall comes from a couple of groups that have been pushing against progressive candidates and causes in the city for the past several years – with the help of at least one rich loyal Republican donor.

Let’s start with a group called Neighbors for a Better San Francisco.

This is an organization that raised $3 million in the fall of 2020 to try to block progressive taxes and support Mayor London Breed’s candidates for the Board of Supes.

One of its major funders: William Obendorf. As we pointed out, he

has donated more than $1 million to the Republican Party to keep Mitch McConnell in control of the US Senate. He is a strong supporter of charter schools, an ally of Betsy DeVos, and put almost $50,000 into the anti-homeless measure Prop. Q in 2016.

It appears from public filings that this organization ended its unsuccessful efforts in 2020 with $300,000 in the bank. And now some of that money (at least $100,000) is going to try to recall Boudin.

Another big donor to the recall: The San Francisco Common Sense Voter Guide, which has put $50,000 into the effort. That’s a committee created by the main lobbyists for the San Francisco Board of Realtors, Mary Jung and Jay Cheng.

The Common Sense Voter Guide got $73,000 from a state-registered PAC called Fed Up San Francisco. Fed Up’s main money comes from (imagine!) Neighbors for a Better San Francisco, along with the Chamber of Commerce ($100,000) and the downtown-backed Committee on Jobs.

Oh, there’s more: Daniel O’Keefe, a Chicago-based investor, put up $50,000 for a different recall committee (there are two). (Why does a rich guy in Chicago want to get rid of the San Francisco district attorney? Don’t know. But I know that he also donated, according to FEC filings, to both Biden for president and to Republican David Perdue’s US Senate campaign in Georgia last year.) William Fisher, an heir to the GAP fortune created by his GOP-allied father, gave $50,000. Real-estate investor David DeWilde put up $100,000.

So here’s what’s going on:

Whatever you hear or see about the Boudin recall signature effort, and if it does qualify, the ads that you are going to see, are part of a national right-wing effort to undermine progressive criminal justice reform. Boudin won the election on a platform of doing exactly what he has done; there’s no scandal here.

The backers are also part of a local movement backed by Big Tech and real estate that is trying to control the direction of local politics – these days, with little success.

Many of the people involved were strong supporters of Boudin’s opponents.

Like Trump supporters, they don’t seem to want to accept the outcome of an election.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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7 COMMENTS

  1. y, this is being driven by SFPOA, which targeted Boudin because he made it clear that he would prosecute police who commit abuse. The police petty much could, and did, get away with murder. I voted for Boudin after SFPOA put out a nasty hit piece against him.

  2. Life long Democrat here (and will remain so) I too have signed the petition to get rid of Boudin.

  3. Does Caitlyn Jenner really think people want another reality TV star and political neophyte to assume high government office? Are we really ready for Meet the Kardashians in the governors mansion? Maybe Jeff Bezos has the right idea about moving to outer space

  4. Boudin, like Mirkarimi, did not kiss ass to the Democrat machine for decades and decades, so once elected over those in the machine’s favor, they get whacked.

    Conservatives freaked out during pandemic lockdown as they were completely disempowered, had control over nothing. Their response was to project those anxieties onto public figures opposed to their ideology.

    The Democrat machine is leveraging these movements, in addition Trumpism, to enforce the rule that the only way to get a position of power is to kiss ass and defer to the imperatives of the machine.

    Odds are that Campos’ mission is sabotage, for which he will be richly rewarded.

  5. My neighbors and I are Democrats, long-term residents of the city, and we all signed the petitions.

  6. I don’t understand, as you say, why a rich guy in Chicago wants to get rid of the San Francisco district attorney. I don’t understand why the local realtors want it. Local conservative powers are of a libertarian bent, focused on the money. What stake do they have in Boudin? The only people with a direct stake here are cops and the prison unions. Or maybe this is just to flex political power and to boost the rank-and-file SF conservatives, who are allergic in principle to any police reform?

Comments are closed.

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