CA AG Asked to Investigate Alleged Illegal Campaign Activities by Alameda DA Office in 2022 District Attorney Race

Pamela Price at a press conference on Wednesday, photo by David Greenwald

By Alexander Ramirez and Luke Kyaw

OAKLAND, CA – The Pamela Price for Alameda County District Attorney Campaign 2022 has exposed and filed complaints against what it describes as illegal campaign activities of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office from 2017 till currently.

For five years, charged the Price Campaign, government officials from the DA’s Office have continuously committed a shocking multitude of violations by using government-issued emails to campaign against Price, including coordination with police associations to fund “hit pieces” against Price, spying and reporting on Price’s campaign, and soliciting volunteers for their own campaign.

The Sutton Law Firm is urging Attorney General Rob Bonta to investigate the usage of the DA’s office for illegal activities and the coercion of police units with the DA’s office after the law firm’s review of 230 pages of emails from the DA’s office.

James Sutton, principal attorney at the Sutton Law Firm, said “When we were approached about looking at the emails, I expected to see a couple of people breaking the rules of conduct. I never thought that the misconduct would be so widespread within the office.”

In a summary of the illegal emails, the position titles of people receiving and sending emails included the DA, the Deputy DA, Assistant DA, Senior Deputy DA, Chief Assistant DA, and other positions at the DA’s office.

Emails Released by Alameda DA’s Office Show Widespread Illegal Use of Government Email

In an email sent from Colleen McMahon to John Brouhard in 2018, “Dear XXX. On behalf of my colleagues, I want to thank you for supporting our efforts to defeat Pamela Price for Alameda County District Attorney. Your agency’s generous donation helped pay for four anti-Price mailers and a digital ad. Without those hit-pieces, this election may not have had such a favorable outcome. Please know how grateful we are for your help and dedication to keeping Alameda County safe. All best, Colleen McMahon (DDA, Alameda County).”

In another email from Tom Saggau to Barry Donelan, Hannu Tarjano and Paul Kelly, with the subject line, Alameda County DA’s Race, “Barry, TJ asked that I send to you the attached mail pieces, drop dates described below. Each of the entities you have talked to me about has already committed funds, do you have any new money to get us up with a 50K digital buy…see below. Tom.” Colleen McMahon was also cc’d in this message.

It isn’t just the DA’s office that participated in these emails, it appears.

In an email from Craig Chew of the Alameda police department to a redacted email address that potentially may belong to the District Attorney, Chew explains that “Price is focused on destroying the trust between the police and the communities that we serve by prosecuting the hard-working officers in Alameda County,” and “Price’s attack directly affects the safety of our law enforcement officers, the communities we serve and the relationships we have world so hard to build.”

Chew backs this by claiming George Soros has put $1.5 million into an “anti-law enforcement” PAC that is also funding Price’s campaign.

Chew also criticized Price’s stance to not prosecute misdemeanor cases because they, as Price explained, “are a waste of resources.” He rebuked Price’s stance in the same email, stating that “by not enforcing these crimes (domestic violence, property crimes, battery on officers and firefighters and drunk driving offenses), it significantly jeopardizes the safety of our law enforcement officers and the quality of life for every person who lives, works or visits Alameda County.”

He would continue to give dates that phone banking and precinct walking were to take place during.

Other than these calls for action and funding, the official emails of the people involved in this illegal activity were also used for campaign gossip, endorsement, strategy, advertising and campaign events.

A complaint was already filed against the political committee that opposes Price’s 2018 candidacy and is associated with Nancy O’Malley’s reelection campaign, but a response from Attorney General Rob Bonta and the FPPC is expected.

About The Author

Alexander Ramirez is a third-year Political Science major at the University of California, Davis. He hopes to hone his writing skills in preparation for the inevitable time of graduation.

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