San Francisco mayoral candidates mostly mum on who raises their money

For San Francisco’s mayoral hopefuls, campaign fundraising is a bit like making sausage. They enjoy the product, but the process is not something they want on public display.

While campaign finance disclosure requirements show exactly who has given how much money to a candidate, it is much harder to track equally revelatory information about who elicits those contributions. When the 11 primary candidates were asked who “bundles” those $500 maximum donations, most were reluctant or at least careful when talking about their fundraising structure.

Only a few were willing to supply names for members of their fundraising committees or individuals who have thrown campaign parties on their behalf.

Mayor Ed Lee, the biggest target of city insider power-player skepticism since jumping into the race earlier this month, said only that he would “comply with all the rules” and hasn’t decided whether he’ll reveal members of a fundraising committee. In an editorial board interview with The San Francisco Examiner, Lee asked whether disclosure would be required for individuals who raise money for him. When he understood he wouldn’t be required to report that to The City’s Ethics Commission, he said: “To the extent they require me to do so, I will do so.”

Former Supervisor Tony Hall didn’t provide names of anyone helping him raise money, but said his campaign has worked with a professional fundraiser paid to throw parties. Hall said he doesn’t have a structured financing committee and he’ll seek help from “the people” rather than to “cow-tow” to the “clowns that are running this city.”

“I’d rather get $100 from Ma and Pa Kettle,” Hall said, “than say, $500 from five different sources.”

Public Defender Jeff Adachi, the newest candidate in the race, said he’s “literally calling people up” and asking them to contribute $500. Adachi said he doesn’t plan to seek help from a professional fundraiser and declined to name members of his network helping him raise money.

State Sen. Leland Yee and venture capitalist Joanna Rees both said their websites list names of people holding fundraisers, but didn’t provide more detail beyond that. When Rees was asked if she had a financing committee, she responded, “me.”

Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting, former Supervisor Bevan Dufty and City Attorney Dennis Herrera all said they’d be willing to provide information about who raises funds. Ting didn’t mention specific people, but Dufty — the only openly gay candidate — said he’s being helped with fundraisers held by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund in various U.S. cities. Herrera mentioned the names of a few people who have held fundraisers on his behalf.

Both Supervisor David Chiu and Supervisor John Avalos named members of their finance committees and characterized them as friends and colleagues from neighborhood groups unconnected to City Hall politics. Attorney Dana Rivera is the chairwoman of Chiu’s campaign, which has reported the most money raised so far. John Keig serves the capacity of a campaign finance committee chairman for Avalos.

San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee chairman and former Supervisor Aaron Peskin was one in a long list of people who threw parties for Avalos, according to the campaign. On Wednesday, Avalos netted an endorsement from the organization’s nearly 30 voting members.

Former Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier did not return calls for comment.


Money trail

Mayoral candidate funds raised from Jan. 1 to June 30:

Contributions Public Financing Cash on hand
David Chiu $396,129 $183,380 $396,754
Bevan Dufty $308,871 $495,181 $493,372
Dennis Herrera $306,861 $534,507 $586,294
Leland Yee $231,856 $399,327 $444,820
Joanna Rees $215,285 $433,137 $441,168
Michela Alioto-Pier $189,055 $384,147 $406,574
Tony Hall $102,612 $208,236 $173,368
John Avalos $86,882 $50,000 $99,202
Phil Ting $67,526 $0 $37,066
Jeff Adachi Yet to file due to late entry into the race
Ed Lee At least $50,000, based on a non-itemized declaration filed Wednesday with the Ethics Commission


*Figures do not include money raised in 2010

Source: San Francisco Ethics Commission

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsLocalPoliticsSF Mayoral Race

Just Posted

San Francisco supervisors are considering plans to replace trash cans — a “Renaissance” garbage can is pictured on Market Street — with pricey, unnecessary upgrades. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco must end ridiculous and expensive quest for ‘pretty’ trash cans

SF’s unique and pricey garbage bins a dream of disgraced former Public Works director

Pachama, a Bay Area startup, is using technology to study forests and harness the carbon-consuming power of trees. (Courtesy Agustina Perretta/Pachama)
Golden Gate Park visitors may take a survey about options regarding private car access on John F. Kennedy Drive, which has been the subject of controversy during the pandemic.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Your chance to weigh in: Should JFK remain closed to cars?

Host of mobility improvements for Golden Gate Park proposed

Water towers in Mendocino, where wells have dried up, are pictured in August. (Max Whittaker/New York Times)
As California drought deepens, water use drops only 1.8%

North Coast and Bay Area residents cut water use while Southern Californians didn’t

Dreamforce returned to San Francisco in person this week – but with a tiny sliver of past attendance. (Courtesy Salesforce)
Dreamforce returns with hundreds on hand, down from 170,000 in the past

High hopes for a larger Salesforce conference shriveled during the summer

Most Read