The dirty secret about District Attorney Brooke Jenkins's paid involvement in the campaign to oust her predecessor and former boss, Chesa Boudin, was bound to come out eventually. And it's now come out two days after Jenkins formally filed paperwork to run for the DA's job in November.
Reactions are coming swiftly and tersely from the progressive supporters of former DA Chesa Boudin, and from Boudin himself today, after Jenkins revealed in an ethics filing with the city that she had been paid over $100,000 for consulting work, including a significant payment by a group that largely funded the "Yes on H" recall campaign.
The same website that enthusiastically covered Jenkins's performative press conference on Monday announcing her candidacy on the November ballot, The San Francisco Standard, broke the story Tuesday night about Jenkins's payments from the recall campaign. Jenkins previously stated she had volunteered on the campaign, and is now backpedaling by saying she "provided consulting services for a few San Francisco based non-profit organizations" after resigning from the DA's office — ostensibly in protest of Boudin's policies as a prosecutor. "I leveraged my career and prosecutorial experience to help provide a new source of income to help support my family and small children," is how Jenkins puts it.
Boudin has weighed in on Twitter, saying today, "Integrity is central to the job of District Attorney. If jurors can’t trust your word, they won’t convict. The relationships with judges and defense counsel and victims are all built on integrity. Lying to get ahead destroys the trust we need to make SF safer."
Rachel Marshall, who previously worked as Boudin's communications advisor, tweeted last night, "Jenkins intentionally misled SF voters & improperly garnered public trust by claiming she was a campaign volunteer." And Marshall repeated what she told the Chronicle: "This behavior — by someone now appointed as a chief law enforcement officer — reeks of dishonesty, a lack of transparency, and corruption."
Marshall also tweeted, "SF has been played."
It's not clear that Jenkins lied to anyone or did anything illegal, and as recall supporter, former SF supervisor and retired judge Quentin Kopp tells the Chronicle today, "She wouldn’t be the first candidate for office who didn’t disclose all relevant facts pertaining to any campaign issue."
The question is one of ethics and integrity, and this is certain to be a stain on Jenkins when it comes time for an opponent to campaign against her in November — and Boudin has already said that he will not be running for the job this year, though he might again next year when his first term would have been up.
There's also a nugget in the Chronicle's follow up that hints at the fact that London Breed could be royally pissed about this revelation. A spokesperson for the mayor, Parisa Safarzadeh, said she was not "fully aware" whether Breed knew about the paid relationship between Jenkins and conservative recall backer William Oberndorf when she chose Jenkins as interim DA.
But, Safarzadeh said, "The important thing is that the District Attorney disclosed it in her form," and the mayor allegedly "has faith Brooke will be an amazing district attorney and will do a great job."
Supervisor Dean Preston, who is the chair of the Board of Supervisors’ government audit and oversight committee, tells the Chronicle that he isn't planning any hearings on this matter, but he's thinking about "whether there are any more limits we could impose on funneling this kind of money to impact races without disclosing."
Referring to the Oberndorf-funded group that backed the recall and paid Jenkins her fee, Neighbors for a Better San Francisco Advocacy, Preston says, "I think there are serious questions about why someone who is district attorney has taken money from this entity, given its politics."