By Elina Lingappa
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – To no surprise, the recall of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is being funded and headed by strong, coordinated Republican effort.
Recall campaigns are catching the attention of voters nationwide and nowhere is this more evident than in San Francisco, where Boudin has faced two separate recall efforts. However, many are beginning to question an ulterior motive to these recall campaigns.
Boudin himself recently pointed out that most of the numerous recall campaigns are targeting newly-elected progressive leaders.
These campaigns are “not because of high crimes and misdemeanors, not because of things that would lead anyone to be impeached at a federal level,” Boudin said, “It’s happening because people don’t like the outcome of elections.”
Tim Redmond of 48hills echoes Boudin’s sentiment. These recalls, he claims, more than anything, are right-wing attempts to reassert republican power.
Redmond wrote an investigative article exploring the major donors funding the newest Boudin recall. According to his findings, $720,000 has originated from just nine contributors.
Most of these major donors are also frequent financial supporters of Republican efforts, from giving to campaigns to keep Georgia red to hosting fundraisers for Donald Trump in 2019.
Aside from individual donors, Redmond points out an alarming trend in the committees supporting the recall effort.
One of the largest committee contributors is the Neighbors for a Better San Francisco, which gave $450,000 to the recall campaign.
The committee began in 2020 with the mission to oppose progressive ballot measures and politicians. It also represents many right-wing politicians and voters, including William Obendorf, who reportedly gave over $1 million to maintain Mitch McConnell’s control of the U.S. Senate.
Obendorf is a supporter of Betsy DeVos, and gave tens of thousands of dollars to the anti-homeless 2016 measure Prop Q.
Even with backing from massive donors, Neighbors for a Better San Francisco was unsuccessful in all of its 2020 efforts. After these failed initiatives, it took all the funds it had left and funneled it into the Boudin recall campaign.
There are several other large committees driving the recall campaign, namely San Franciscans for Public Safety, San Francisco Common Sense Voter Guide, and Fed Up San Francisco.
Mary Jung, a real estate lobbyist, holds a leadership position in most of these committees.
Redmond found that there was, including Jung, a wide overlap in personnel and donor funds between each of these committees, giving the illusion of a pluralist effort when the reality is a concentrated few right-wing and corporate influences.
“Why all of this game of hiding the money, creating front committees, moving big-donor cash around?” Redmond wrote.
“If I were a cynical reporter, I would think that maybe the people trying to recall the DA don’t want the voters to realize that this is funded by people who support Donald Trump, McConnell, and the GOP agenda, and run by a lobbyist for the real-estate industry,” he finished.
Redmond explicitly condemned the recall as “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 is no scandal here.”
While supporters and signers of the recall campaigns vary widely, it is becoming increasingly clear that the effort is orchestrated by right-wing groups and individuals who also endorse Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump’s leadership.
However, Redmond is not the only individual to jump to Boudin’s defense.
Bevan Dufty, a previous member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, supported Suzy Loftus, Boudin’s opponent during the 2019 election. Since the election, however, Dufty has condemned the recall effort.
Dufty, who has since worked with Boudin, says the DA, “has been hard working, responsive, and thoughtful. His door is open, and I’ve seen him be active and go throughout the city, even when a group has been critical.”
Similarly, Judge Tomar Mason wrote a recent opinion article in the SF Examiner dispelling the misinformation driving much of the recall effort. Namely, he pointed out that crime is down, contrary to the recall rhetoric, and any rise in crime is not directly correlated with the DA’s policies and actions.
“We need to give our justice system and our elected District Attorney Chesa Boudin the opportunity to demonstrate a positive effect in our overwhelmed system,” He wrote “When I sent a jury to deliberate, I always instructed them to look at the facts. In this recall, I urge San Franciscans to do the same”, the judge opined.