REPORT: Dark Money Floods SF Elections

THE SUNLIGHT ON DARK MONEY INITIATIVE

For Immediate Release:  October 26, 2018                                                                               

News Release

NEW FILINGS SHOW MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FLOODING SF ELECTIONS AS ELECTION DAY NEARS

Half the money spent to back candidates in key SF Supervisor races is “Dark Money” from Corporate PAC “Progress San Francisco"; $3.3 million spent in battle over Prop. C Homelessness Initiative

An analysis of new campaign finance filings has found that more than $4.6 million has been spent on next month’s San Francisco Board of Supervisors elections, with most of the money in critical races coming not from the candidates but from an independent expenditure committee called “Progress San Francisco,” which is funded by real estate companies, tech companies, and corporate CEOs.

The final pre-election reports filed yesterday by all candidates and committees with the San Francisco Ethics Commission found that the Supervisor election contest generating the most money is the race for the District 6 (South of Market) seat, which has seen $1.5 million in spending. Nearly half ($636,332) has come from a committee sponsored by “Progress San Francisco” to back candidates Christine Johnson and Sonja Trauss. The race for the District 4 (Sunset) seat has seen $1 million in spending, with more than half of that ($595,989) coming from a committee sponsored by “Progress San Francisco” to back candidate Jessica Ho.

“More than ever before, San Francisco voters are being deluged with ads paid for not by the candidates but by shell committees with fake names designed to hide the fact that they are funded by corporations, CEOs, and Republican mega-donors,” said Jon Golinger, Campaign Director for the Sunlight on Dark Money Initiative, a ballot measure headed for next year’s ballot that would limit corporate contributions and increase disclosure of “dark money” committees. “It’s time to shine sunlight on dark money so the voters know who is paying for the ads they see.”

The new campaign finance filings also show that the heated battle over Proposition C, the Homelessness Initiative, has generated over $3.3 million in spending, with the Yes on C side outspending the No on C side by nearly 3-1. The major donors to Yes on C include Salesforce.com and its CEO Marc Benioff. The major donors to No on C include Stripe, Inc., Visa, Lyft, and PG&E Corporation.

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