San Francisco’s progressive public defender-turned-District Attorney, elected to office just ahead of nationwide demands for police accountability and criminal justice reform, is facing a stiff recall effort largely bankrolled by a few billionaires.
William Oberndorf is a shadowy big-money Republican who spent at least $900,000. To remove Boudin from office, the majority of the effort to recall San Francisco District attorney Chesa Boudin. SFGate. To that end, Oberndorf’s primary pass-through entity is Neighbors for a Better San Francisco, a super PAC responsible for putting up roughly two-thirdsOf the money spent on ousting Boudin. According to the report, about $6 million was poured from different sources into this effort. Mission Local.
“I think it’s pretty clear that the recall is being driven by a dark money PAC that itself is funded by a handful of ultra-wealthy individuals,” Julie Edwards, campaign manager for the effort to keep Boudin in office, told The San Francisco Examiner.
Oberndorf is joinedRon Conway, a billionaire venture capitalist, has repeatedly claimed that San Francisco is being overrun with crime. The city is seeing record lows for violent and property crime, compared with previous decades. The San Francisco Chronicle reported. As the Washington Post notes, violent crime “remains at some of the lowest levels it has been in four decades” in San Francisco.
“The recall is coming after me because we’re not limiting our prosecution to poor people of color,” Boudin told These Times. ”We’re also holding those in power accountable: operations that systematically steal from their employees, police officers who use excessive force, corrupt politicians and government appointees, manufacturers of ghost guns. That non-traditional, proactive approach to public safety and equal enforcement of the law is exactly why I’ve been targeted for a recall.”
Oberndorf’s opposition to Boudin stems largely from the attorney’s pledge to enforce progressive policies on policing, incarceration, and immigration.
In February interviewWith The New York Times, Boudin accused Oberndorf of withholding support from his 2019 campaign because the then-candidate refused to rescind San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy, which restricts the city’s capacity to cooperate with federal immigration law. (Oberndorf, on the other hand, denied this allegation.
Boudin has also accused Oberndorf of being an “oligarch” and has tarred his opponents as “Trumpian.”
“It’s really problematic that we are having a very Trumpian conversation in San Francisco,” Boudin toldThe Times.
Oberndorf has been an important donor to many Republicans lawmakers over the decades and to political action committees. SFGate reported. They include 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney ($50,000); The Republican Congressional Leadership Fund ($750,000); and the Republican Senate Leadership Fund (Sen. McConnell (Minority Leader), a Republican from Kentucky ($850,000); as well as the Our Principles PAC which is an anti-Trump group.
Oberndorf donated to Our Principles and also supported former 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton Trump. “If it is Trump vs. Clinton, and there is no viable third party candidate, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton,” he told CNNShortly after Trump was elected GOP nominee, he donated $50,000 to a pro-Clinton PAC. He also donated $50,000 at the time to a pro-Clinton PAC.
According to SFGate, one of Oberndorf’s key policy items is school privatization. He is the chair for the American Federation for Children, which is a right-wing dark-money group that seeks the destruction of teachers unions and once supported a ballot proposition that would have completely banned teachers unions.