DCCC calls against Prop B did not have desired effect, did raise questions

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Chairperson Mary Jung of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, a highly influential political body that governs the San Francisco Democratic Party, has come under fire for “misuse of funds” after authorizing the use of DCCC dollars to make calls to voters just before the June 3 election.

The funds in question, according to DCCC members who raised concerns, came out of a $25,000 check from billionaire venture capital investor Ron Conway, received by the DCCC May 30.

In a June 16 letter – signed by DCCC members Kelly Dwyer, Hene Kelly, Sup. Eric Mar, Sup. David Campos, Sup. John Avalos and Petra DeJesus – Jung is taken to task for directing $11,674.48 from this donation be used for phone calls placed to voters in opposition to Proposition B, which appeared on the June 3 ballot, just before the election.

As previously reported, a complainant cried foul on this action in a filing with the San Francisco Ethics Commission, because callers seemed to be intentionally misleading voters by implying that the No Wall on the Waterfront Campaign, which backed the measure, was opposed to it.

When we phoned Jung for comment on that complaint, she said she did not have the call script and could not comment on the charge that the calls were misleading. She also said Conway’s contribution was not necessarily put toward the No on B calls. Instead, she told us, she could not link any single donation with any single expenditure, because the DCCC had been conducting broad fundraising efforts leading up to the election.

In their letter to Jung, the dissenting DCCC members argued that her decision to authorize the use of funds for the No on B voter calls violated the organization’s bylaws, because “there was never a vote by the members to expend $11,674.48 to make calls for No on B.” 

The letter points to an article within the board’s bylaws, stating that “Disbursements of SFDCCC funds … shall be authorized by a majority vote of the voting members present and voting at a regular meeting.” 

In the end, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly approved Prop. B, which requires voter approval before building heights may be increased above established limits for new waterfront development projects. However, the measure was not popular among real-estate development interests.

In addition to being chair of the DCCC, Jung is employed as a paid lobbyist for the San Francisco Association of Realtors, making her professionally positioned at the center of the San Francisco real-estate community.

“The power that comes with being the Chair does not mean that you can circumvent Bylaws and advocate and raise money for causes that you happen to also work for,” the authors of the letter stated bluntly. “There is a serious conflict of interest here.”

When the Bay Guardian phoned the DCCC to ask if there was an expert on the organization’s bylaws who might be able to comment on whether the rules had been violated, we were directed to Arlo Hale Smith, a 30-year DCCC member and parliamentarian with a deep understanding of the bylaws.

Smith offered an interesting twist on the matter: He said these funds were indeed “properly expended, under the emergency provision.”

The emergency provision? Yes, Smith explained, the DCCC bylaws contain a provision allowing the DCCC chair and treasurer to authorize the use of funds without first calling a vote, “in the event of an emergency.” This provision has been used in the past, he said, to authorize last-minute expenditures when an election imposes a tight deadline.

Since the money arrived three days before the election, there was no time to call a meeting and vote on it, Smith clarified. That’s why it was perfectly legitimate for Jung to authorize the use of funds. He added that disagreement over the content of the calls warranted a separate conversation.

“Because of when the check arrived – it constituted an emergency,” Smith noted, confirming that he was talking about the check from Conway.

That would be the same check from Conway that Jung told us had nothing to do with the No on B calls.

Sounds like the DCCC is going to have lots to talk about on June 25, when the members who submitted the letter asked for a hearing on this matter.

Here’s the full text of the letter.

DCCC members' letter to Chair Mary Jung

Comments

I'm not sure what your problem is here.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 5:36 pm

"I'm not sure what your problem is here,"

and

"I'm not sure what the story is here,"

are the same opening comments of a lot Bay Guardian articles... verbatim. This comment was made within 30 minutes of the post. Do you have Bay guardian articles on google alert or something?

Does someone honestly pay you to be a troll, or do you just have no life?

Posted by Grant on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 10:04 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 6:50 am

I love it how the other side needs to adhere to the strictest interpretation of the spirit every last rule.

But when Chris Daly uses his acting Mayor status to appoint Commissioners he is just being a forceful activist.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 7:58 pm

more lies and disinfo from the progressive political direct mail rag that isn't a newspaper. seriously stop calling yourselves journalists and register as political consultants and pay the consultant tax like the others do. you people are pathetic liars and it's a shame that we now have the Crap Chronicle and the Bay Bilge Guardian SF is a fucking joke, loser.

Posted by B Hrown on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 4:24 am

You stayed up all night getting drunk again just to spit out this gem of a comment. Who's the loser, Harold?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

H is back, we miss you.

Posted by GUEST on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 3:44 pm

Fortunately he's gone for good. If you ask me, my theory is that he probably has some terminal disease, and he decided to go somewhere far away to die, because he wanted to deny all the people he ever offended the pleasure of dancing on his grave.

Me... while I wouldn't mind dancing on his grave, it's enough for me to live in San Francisco without ever having to smell that rodent ever again.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 10:55 pm

She also works for Pacific Gas & Electric; a company that has such deep control of the so called 'Democrats' in the Mayor's office that Mayor Lee is single-handedly delaying (probably by precious years) the launch of the CleanPowerSF program.

We sure have a real winner of a Mayor, and likewise of a DCCC head; both blatantly bought and paid for by corporate interest.

Perhaps the Dems will wise up and get rid of Jung now, and save the DCCC any further shame and embarrassment.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 9:21 pm

I don't think she's held a real job for one day out of her life. Look up "crony" in the dictionary, and there's a picture of Mary Jung.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 10:51 pm

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