Mayor Ed Lee's "Smoking Gun"

Categories: Politics
Thumbnail image for Ed Lee Mustache.jpg
What's hidden in that mustache?
While Mayor Ed Lee has insisted he had no connection to the Progress for All committee, the group that was formed to draft him into the mayor's race, campaign records seem to tell a much different story.

Lee filed a form 470 on July 21, 2011 -- about two weeks before he actually declared his candidacy for mayor. The paperwork is mandatory for elected officials and candidates who do not have a controlled committee and who don't anticipate receiving contributions of more than $1,000 in a calendar year. According to the form Lee filed, a "Run Ed Run Committee has been formed" primarily to receive contributions or to make expenditures on behalf of his candidacy.

Lee's spokesman, Tony Winnicker, told us that the mayor was simply following the advice of the ethics director, who had told him to sign the paperwork. "They were raising money and actively encouraging him to run," Winnicker says of Progress for All. "It was just the mayor acknowledging that he had heard of the committee, but it continues to be true that he had zero involvement with it."

John St. Croix, executive director of the Ethics Commission, defended the mayor, saying he had advised him to fill out the form shortly before Lee declared his candidacy for mayor. He echoed Winnicker's comments, saying: "What it acknowledges is that [Progress for All] was out there doing something, but it doesn't necessarily mean he had intimate knowledge of what they were doing." St. Croix said.

We pushed him more to explain how this signed form -- which clearly asks Lee to list all committees that were formed to raise and spend money on his behalf -- wasn't a signal that the mayor knew the committee was there to bolster his candidacy long before he ever officially said he was running for mayor. St. Croix let out a sigh, gave a long pause and stated: "I don't know what to say."

But Aaron Peskin, chair of the local Democratic Party, had plenty to say. Peskin had filed a letter with the Ethics Commission before Lee declared his candidacy, detailing exactly how the Progress for All committee was unfairly collecting money and support for months to benefit Lee's candidacy. The Ethics Commission later cleared the committee of any wrongdoing.

"If this isn't a smoking gun, I don't know what is," Peskin says of Lee's Form 470. "Ed Lee is admitting what the Ethics Commission refused to hear -- he is clearly saying that the Run, Ed, Run committee was formed to support him."

All along Lee kept his distance from the committee and stated publicly that he had nothing to do with the Run, Ed, Run campaign. Progress for All -- the group behind the Run, Ed, Run campaign --  was formed as a general purpose committee with the sole mission of educating voters. Since it's not campaigning for a particular candidate, a general purpose committee can collect as much money as it wants.

But other mayoral candidates have accused the committee of forming with one goal in mind: To help Lee get a leg up in this race.

Still, the Ethics Commission earlier this month decided that because Lee wasn't a candidate at the time the committee was in operation, it had done nothing illegal. A few weeks after that, the District Attorney's Office opted not to investigate Progress for All, citing "insufficient evidence." 

"I'm sorry if that's not clear," St. Croix told us.

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6 comments
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Tnsanfrancisco
Tnsanfrancisco

Mr. Ed Lee admitted unequivocably that " A "Run Ed Run" committee has been formed"  on Form 470. This is an acknowledgement of prior knowledge as an attorney- an officer of the court-. Does this mean, coupled with his other contradicting to own public statement, that this man has not been telling the truth to the public ? If so, should a complaint be placed to the State Bar 's Disciplinary Committee?Or should the State Bar Association itself initiate an investigation whether outright lies to the public were committed by an officer of the court?If so, should a revocation of his license to practice law be warranted ?     

LC11
LC11

Total waste of time to read this story. Peskin was a puppet of Rose Pak when he was a supervisor, and now he pretends to have morals by publicly attacking Ed Lee over some silly paperwork that someone else filled in and Lee signed. Who cares?

Adlife
Adlife

lie lie lie ......

JanetteT
JanetteT

All Lee had to do is indicate at the gitgo that running was at least a slim possibility. He mad such a huge deal again and again and again that running was 110% off the table. And this lead to his sneaky and slimy approach to "running". This guy is a sleazeball and should be cleaning toliets in Paraguay.

Penny
Penny

It really isn't nice to laugh at the stupid things that Peskin says but in this case you just can't help yourself:

"Ed Lee is admitting what the Ethics Commission refused to hear -- he is clearly saying that the Run, Ed, Run committee was formed to support him."

Um, Aaron, most of us got that by the "Ed" in the title. But apparently he was smart enough to avoid personal involvement in the committee. Is that a legal loophole? Probably. It must be SO frustrating for little Aaron to try to grasp these principles.

auweia
auweia

oh yeah, we're San Francisco, and we get much of our civic involvement from legal loopholes. SF, the town the skirts!

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