San Francisco interim Mayor Ed Lee came under fire again today from opponents in the Nov. 8 mayoral race following another report of alleged misconduct by supporters of his campaign.
A report in the San Francisco Chronicle today alleged that Andrew Hawkins, a property services manager, promised to reimburse employees at his business, Archway Property Services, if they donated the maximum amount to Lee’s mayoral campaign.
Lee campaign spokesman Tony Winnicker said today that a total of $4,572 was donated to the campaign from the employees and has since been returned.
Winnicker said the campaign notified the district attorney’s office of the alleged money laundering on Tuesday, and district attorney’s spokesman Omid Talai confirmed today that prosecutors were made aware of the matter and are evaluating it.
Hawkins could not immediately be reached for comment.
The district attorney’s office is also evaluating two other cases of alleged misconduct by supporters of Lee’s campaign–an airport shuttle company accused of similar money laundering and an independent group supporting Lee that allegedly helped elderly voters fill out ballots in Chinatown, using stencils to guide voters to mark Lee for mayor.
Winnicker emphasized that Lee’s official campaign is not associated with any of these groups.
“We’re as disgusted and outraged by this as anyone, if not more so,” Winnicker said.
However, several of Lee’s opponents in the race sharply criticized the mayor over the latest allegations.
“Too many of Ed Lee’s supporters act as though they’re above the law–on money laundering, on ballot tampering, and more–and Ed Lee isn’t strong enough to stop it,” City Attorney and mayoral candidate Dennis Herrera said in a statement.
“If this is how they behave before an election, just imagine how they’ll behave after the election, if Ed Lee wins,” said Herrera, who also called on the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission to join the district attorney’s office in investigating the allegations.
State Sen. Leland Yee said, “Either Ed Lee is condoning these illegal tactics or the wool is being pulled over his eyes–not what we need of our mayor.”
Winnicker denied the allegations from the other candidates.
“We’re the victim here … these people came to an event, perjured themselves, and signed their names to forms that said it was their own money,” he said. “No campaign goes to greater lengths to vet our contributions.”
Winnicker said, “There are stupid people who wrongly believe if they come and break the law that they’ll somehow curry favor with the incumbent mayor, but nothing could be further from the truth.”
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News