Updated 5:20 p.m. July 19, 2011. Correction: In this story about the campaign to get interim Mayor Ed Lee to run for mayor, The Examiner referred to the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. The correct name of the organization is the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
The political action committee trying to get Mayor Ed Lee to run for a full term in November is under increasing pressure to clarify its purpose to voters and the Ethics Commission.
The director of the commission has been calling for the people behind the Progress For All committee — which has been buying ads and posting signs promoting a Lee candidacy with the phrase, “Run, Ed, Run” — to refile its paperwork for almost four weeks. Other mayoral candidates are putting pressure on the campaign to comply as well, and ethics commissioners have called for a special hearing next month.
In June, Ethics Commission Executive Director John St. Croix called for the committee to refile its papers, clearly labeling the party as a campaign with the sole intent of getting Lee to run for mayor. Progress for All representatives initially said the committee was more than a movement to recruit Lee.
But St. Croix said the committee has since promised to update its paperwork to reflect a more narrow mission.
“It’s only fair to the voters to explain what your purpose is,” St. Croix said. “It’s simply a matter of defining what they do.”
The delay has created fodder for political consultants such as Jim Stearns, who is running state Sen. Leland Yee’s mayoral campaign. He has taken to Twitter to count the days the committee has failed to keep a promise to change its paperwork.
“Certainly their failure to comply with the law is doing a disservice to Ed Lee because in the end of the day it’s all being done in his name,” Stearns said.
The Board of Supervisors appointed Lee interim mayor in January on the condition he not run for the office after serving out Mayor Gavin Newsom’s term. Even though Lee has repeatedly insisted he doesn’t want to compete in the November election, supporters have been aggressively trying to persuade him to change his mind. The situation has created anxiety for declared candidates since Lee has solid citywide name recognition now.
Ethics Commissioner Dorothy Liu called for a hearing to take place Aug. 8, only four days before the deadline to file as a candidate for mayor.
The commission wants to learn more about the committee strictly because there has been so much attention given to the unique nature of the campaign, Liu said Monday.
Calls to the Progress For All campaign were not immediately returned. Chinese Chamber of Commerce consultant Rose Pak recently told The Wall Street Journal the campaign has raised more than $60,000 and has collected 20,000 signatures.