And here’s the version of the same story what’s in the National Section of today’s New York Times:
And here they are – Interim Mayor Ed Lee and Mayoral Spokesmodel Tony Winnicker along with the Fourth Estate (including feisty Gerry Shih and feisty Luke Thomas) at San Francisco City Hall:
All the deets:
“Herrera calls for criminal investigation of laundered campaign donations to Ed Lee
Letter to U.S. Attorney, State A.G. and San Francisco D.A. says only investigators with authority to subpoena records, question witnesses under oath can resolve questions
SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 7, 2011) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today called for a formal criminal investigation into allegations first reported late yesterday afternoon that donors to interim Mayor Ed Lee’s campaign conspired to exceed contribution limits by laundering money through business associates. Herrera’s three-page letter to U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón noted that the published admissions by employees of Go Lorries Airport Shuttle may indicate felony and misdemeanor violations of state and local laws. The California Fair Political Practices Commission has already announced a civil investigation into allegations that donors were reimbursed cash to make campaign contributions to Lee.
Further heightening concerns about the apparently illegal contributions, Herrera wrote, is that the donations closely followed official actions by mayoral appointees that significantly benefited the purported donors’ employer. Those actions include altering shared-ride the loading zone configurations at San Francisco International Airport to favor Go Lorries Airport Shuttles “due to feedback” from unspecified parties. Lee’s campaign has reportedly returned some $8,500 in donations that were questioned yesterday.
“Investigations are warranted when credible allegations risk undermining public trust in our local government — and we’ve certainly reached that point here,” Herrera said. “Only independent investigators with authority to subpoena records and question witnesses under oath can adequately resolve questions to which San Franciscans deserve answers. A formal investigation will best assure justice while protecting innocent parties. I hope interim Mayor Lee’s campaign joins in calling for such an inquiry, and cooperates with it fully.”
Herrera’s letter noted that multiple political endeavors on interim Mayor Lee’s behalf for much of the year have been plagued by ethical and legal questions, including political activities by city contractors, and the advent of a controversial “general purpose committee” that advanced Lee’s candidacy throughout the summer while sidestepping legal restraints that normally apply to candidate committees.
Urging “a full, fair and speedy investigation,” Herrera’s letter to federal and state criminal prosecutors concluded: “Allowing these questions to remain wholly unanswered can only serve to betray San Franciscans’ confidence in the integrity of their public institutions, and potentially diminish the legitimacy of their elected leadership.”