DA, FBI announce formation of political corruption task force

A joint task force to root out political corruption in San Francisco was launched Tuesday by District Attorney George Gascon and the head of the local FBI office, in order to end the pay-to-play system embedded in The City’s political culture.

“When a public official sells his or her office — at any level — it erodes the public’s confidence and trust in government,” said the FBI’s Special Agent in Charge David Johnson. “That is why the FBI is committed to forming this task force. We will aggressively pursue this illegal activity and defend the people of San Francisco against corrupt behavior.”

The announcement included few details since the already underway investigation into political corruption, which has resulted in charges against a trio of local politicos, is under a federal protective order.

But Gascon’s announcement of the formation of the officially named San Francisco Public Corruption Task Force did give a nod to the kind of corruption the task force will focus on. That system was most recently illustrated in FBI wiretap transcripts that emerged from the Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow case.

That alleged bribery scheme, and some of its purported perpetrators, was based on a pay-to-play system of bribes in the form of laundered campaign contributions funneled through straw donors in order to get around the legal limit.

In January the District Attorney announced he would be filing bribery and money laundering charges against recently retired Human Rights Commission employee Zula Jones, ex-HRC commissioner Nazly Mohajer and former political consultant Keith Jackson.

The charges are linked to a scheme that allegedly collected bribes in order to help retire Mayor Ed Lee’s 2011 campaign debt.

“The good old boy, pay to play system…has to end” said Gascon.

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Read more criminal justice news on the Crime Ink page in print. Follow us on Twitter: @sfcrimeinkbriberycorruptionCrimeEd LeeGeorge GasconKeith JasckonLeland YeeRaymond Shrimp Boy ChowSan Fransicso politics

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