Remember how an FBI agent posed undercover as an Atlanta businessman and met with former San Francisco Human Rights Commission staffer Zula Jones and ex-Human Rights Commissioner Nazly Mohajer, who promised him meetings with Mayor Lee in exchange for $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions? The Chronicle does, and as you may know, Jones, Mohajer, and School Board President Keith Jackson face corruption charges, as announced last month.
But there's far more to come in the investigation, if we're to believe the District Attorney's office, and now the funding will come in part from the FBI: A joint task force to combat political corruption is now in operation in SF, effective immediately.
So, who's the target? Was Mayor Lee aware of a pay-to-play system? Jones has said in a wire recording that "Ed Knows," but apparently prosecutors know something we don't — Lee even met with the FBI agent in question — and they haven't come forward with anything. And, as Lee says, “There is absolutely zero tolerance and no place in city government for anything less [than the strongest ethics laws in the nation]." So, there's that.
“When a public official sells his or her office — at any level — it erodes the public’s confidence and trust in government," said the FBI’s Special Agent in Charge David Johnson according to a press release. “That is why the FBI is committed to forming this task force. We will aggressively pursue this illegal activity and defend the people of San Francisco against corrupt behavior.”
That's all "provocative, tough talk" according to San Francisco magazine, who write: "If forced to summarize the day’s news while riding on the Hall of Justice’s aging elevators, it would be this: The DA and feds will continue doing what they were already doing, though they now have the ability to go wider and dig deeper and pass more receipts on to Uncle Sam."
“San Franciscans deserve a clean government that works for the people, not public officials,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “Public corruption is a cancer that must be rooted out and extinguished. It’s time for terms like good old boy and pay-to-play to be artifacts of our history, and this task force will work to ensure they are absent from our future.”
Details, however, are scant. “On one hand, the D.A. is saying they want transparency," Public Defender Jeff Adachi said, pointing to a central irony. "On the other, they don’t want the public to know what is really going on,”
And we certainly don't!
Previously: [Update] Three Local Politicos, Including Keith Jackson, Indicted On Corruption Charges