District Attorney Forms Task Force With FBI To Investigate Public Corruption

San Francisco prosecutors will join forces with the FBI in a task force to investigate public corruption, District Attorney George Gascon said today.

The task force is intended to send a message to the public and to those in public office that the “good old boy, pay to play” system in San Francisco “has to end,” Gascon said at a news conference.

“San Franciscans deserve a clean government that works for the people,” Gascon said.

Gascon said the joint task force will bring increased resources to labor intensive public corruption investigations, although he declined to say exactly what resources his office was devoting to it.

FBI Special Agent in Charge David Johnson said public corruption is the FBI’s top priority.

“When a public official sells his or her office — at any level — it erodes the public confidence and trust in government,” Johnson said.

The task force will partner with the city attorney’s office where appropriate, officials said.

Gascon declined to say whether any specific cases are currently under investigation but said the charges recently filed against three former city insiders could provide investigators with other leads.

In that case, Former Human Rights Commissioner Nazly Mohajer, former Human Rights Commission staff member Zula Jones and former school board member and political consultant Keith Jackson face charges of felony bribery and money laundering. Jackson also faces charges of felony grand theft of public money and misdemeanor campaign finance fraud.

In a case that originated in a federal investigation, prosecutors allege the trio solicited and accepted $20,000 in bribes from an FBI agent in exchange for political access and promises of preferential treatment. All three are scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 29.

Jackson was also previously named in a 2014 federal indictment along with convicted Chinatown gang leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow for participation in a criminal conspiracy to help retire state Sen. Leland Yee’s campaign debt.

Yee and Jackson both pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges last year and are scheduled to be sentenced in that case on Feb. 24, according to federal court records.

Sara Gaiser, Bay City News

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