Ex-S.F. D.A. Chesa Boudin is Sending Out Fundraising Emails, Fueling Speculation Over Whether He’ll Run Again

Amid disquieting revelations about District Attorney Brooke Jenkins’ financial disclosures, her former boss blasted an email out to his supporters.

“Brooke Jenkins failed to meet the standards the people of San Francisco deserve,” former District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s wrote last week. Jenkins has faced scrutiny for presenting herself as a volunteer for the recall effort that booted Boudin from office, while accepting more than $100,000 in consulting fees from organizations linked to the campaign to oust him.

Those activities, he said were “unbecoming of the office of District Attorney.”

At the end of the email was a large, blue “contribute” button, though it was not clear what cause he was fundraising for. The email was paid for by the political committee Boudin for District Attorney 2023.

Boudin has said he would not enter this fall’s special election that will decide who will finish out the rest of what would have been a four-year term. But he has also not ruled out reentering next year’s scheduled DA’s race.

Although Boudin isn’t running in November, the shadow of his embittered recall election continues to animate the upcoming race, where Jenkins is facing off against two main contenders — John Hamasaki and Joe Alioto Veronese.

In a statement to The Chronicle, Boudin said the 2023 contest “is a long way off and there are too many variables involved to make a statement on running, but I am committed to fighting for justice and a safer San Francisco.”

Boudin said attorneys were directing him on how the donations can be legally used.

Jim Ross, who was a political consultant on Boudin’s campaign against the recall but is no longer working for him, said the funds could help build a war chest should Boudin decide to run again, but that there are several other places they could be used as well.

In general, campaign funds can also be moved to another political or public affairs entity, like a ballot measure committee or political organization, or to certain eligible nonprofits, Ross said. Committees can also return the unused funds to donors.

The contributions cannot be used to support the candidate’s run for a different office. The funds could help support another candidate, but donations would be limited to $500, Ross said.

The Boudin for District Attorney 2023 committee was created shortly after his January 2020 swearing-in as top prosecutor — long before the recall. Boudin would have been up for re-election in 2023. The race could ultimately be held in 2024 if San Franciscans pass a November ballot measure that would move the city’s local races to presidential election years.

Jenkins, who quit Boudin’s office to lead the effort to unseat him, was at the center of her own controversy this week after financial disclosures revealed she raked in over $100,000 during the time she worked as a self-titled volunteer for the recall campaign. The bulk of these funds came from a 501c3 organization that has ties to — but is legally separate from — a group that bankrolled the recall.

Ethics experts said it didn’t appear Jenkins broke any laws, but voters may see her claim to be a volunteer for the recall as a misrepresentation. Jenkins was a powerful force for the campaign, in part because of her contention that she quit Boudin’s office due to her personal convictions and was not swayed by financial incentives.

Read the full article at SF Chronicle

Voters Recall D.A. Chesa Boudin

Reformist prosecutor in San Francisco will not finish first term amid social problems.

SAN FRANCISCO — Embattled Dist. Atty. Chesa Boudin, who became a lightning rod for debates over crime and homelessness in San Francisco, will not finish his first term as the city’s top prosecutor.

With more than 61% of voters backing the recall of the 41-year-old reformer candidate, the Associated Press and the San Francisco Chronicle called the race Tuesday night.

The bitter, expensive recall election has become a referendum on some of San Francisco’s most painfully visible social problems, including homelessness, property crime and drug addiction.

The recall campaign has painted Boudin as a soft-on-crime prosecutor who doesn’t care about public safety. It has tied his criminal reform policies to high-profile crimes, including a fatal hit-and-run involving a man on parole, a series of smash-and-grab robberies from high-end Union Square stores and attacks against elderly Asian American residents.

“Safe is not a word I’d use to describe San Francisco,” said Raj Marwari, 40, who lives in the Marina District and works in finance. He said he voted to recall Boudin because “obviously, things have gotten worse in every way,” including homelessness. He said he’s embarrassed when his parents from Texas visit the city.

Removing Boudin from office won’t solve everything, Marwari said, but “when the player’s doing bad, you’ve got to pull ’em.”

Property and violent crimes fell by double-digit percentages during Bou-din’s first two years in office. But some individual categories of crime surged in the same time frame: Burglaries rose 47%; motor vehicle theft, 36%. Homicides also increased, though the city saw its lowest number of killings in more than a half-century in 2019.

Like other prosecutors in the nationwide movement to reimagine the criminal justice system, Boudin ran on a platform to reduce mass incarceration and divert low-level offenders into drug and mental health treatment instead of jail cells.

His loss could have national implications, including for Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón, who is facing his second recall attempt in two years.

During his 2½-year tenure, Boudin has refused to seek the death penalty or try juveniles as adults. He has reduced the use of sentencing enhancements. A San Francisco police officer stood trial for excessive force this year for the first time, though the officer, Terrance Stangle, was acquitted.

Boudin and his supporters fanned out across the city Tuesday to hand out pamphlets urging a “no” vote on the recall, known as Proposition H. As he campaigned along Divisadero Street in a neighborhood known as NoPa (North of the Panhandle), Boudin said he was “feeling great.”

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times