San Francisco Mayoral Race Deeply Corrupted, Says Former Legislator
Chinese regime implicated
The current race for the mayor’s office in San Francisco was tainted and
compromised before it had even officially begun, according to a former top city
Aaron Peskin, former president of the Board of Supervisors,
speaking with The Epoch Times and its partner media New Tang Dynasty Television
on Aug. 10 and 11, described a formidable array of problems, scandals, and
signposts to corruption in the city over the last year.
And he called
out special concern for one individual who would prefer to remain in the
shadows: Chinese community powerbroker Rose Pak.
But concern about the
corruption of the election doesn’t stop at Pak, Peskin said. “There are …
individuals, but behind those individuals are actually entities that are more
powerful than those individuals,” he said on Aug. 11.
“It is really
about political influence and how political influence works—and that even
includes working with and representing the interest of an outside government in
San Francisco,” he continued.
“I am happy to name those names. They
include the People’s Republic of China.”
laid out the allegations of campaign misconduct in a 37-page letter to the
city’s Ethics Commission on July 28.
tendrils that link a mayor’s race in San Francisco to the communist regime in
China are complicated; the story goes something like this:
Rose Pak, as
de facto head of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, has over the years assiduously
cultivated a network of allies in the San Francisco municipal administration.
She has “been able to work with people to get undue influence in gaining city
contracts, [and] in gaining land use approvals to build new buildings in San
Francisco,” said Peskin.
And she has come out as a strong supporter of
the incumbent mayor, Ed Lee, who is also in the mayoral race. Edwin M. Lee,
however, was never supposed to be in the mayoral race.
He made that
promise to the public before he was appointed interim mayor near the beginning
of the year. He was stepping in for the remainder of the previous mayor’s term,
and Rose Pak was instrumental in shoehorning him into the role.
also instrumental in having him renege on his promise not to run this time,
Peskin said in the interviews. She did so through an illegal funding body
calling itself “Progress for All,” Peskin said.
of Supervisors. (Wu Jianguo/The Epoch Times)
Peskin laid out the
allegations of campaign misconduct in a 37-page letter to the city’s Ethics
Commission on July 28.
Progress for All, using a loophole in campaign
finance laws, plowed thousands of dollars into pro-Lee advertising from a series
of special interest donors before Lee was officially a candidate. Pak was the
unofficial backer of the organization.
Some of those donors would benefit
materially from Lee’s continued time at the helm, Peskin says—not least of them,
“It is troubling because it is very apparent from the day he was
appointed, to this day, that he is controlled by other people.”
says he has known Lee for years. “Ed Lee is a decent man, but as the candidate
for mayor, Ed Lee is not his own man,” Peskin said. “He is somebody who is doing
the work for the real leader of San Francisco, first and foremost, that is, Rose
The reason Pak is so intent on installing Lee? “I think they are
very concerned that the way they have controlled power for many years,” Peskin
said, referring to Pak and her confidants. “Rose Pak needs somebody whom she can
control, and Ed Lee is, despite the fact that he is a good and decent man,
somebody she controls.”
He spoke of evidence of Lee’s ties with Pak: for
example, Lee’s daughter thanked “Auntie Rose” in the San Francisco Chronicle,
and Lee himself said, “Rose, we did it,” when he was first installed. It is
reported in the local press that the two dine together regularly.
told San Francisco media that he does not believe he’s done anything wrong, and
that he changed his mind to run for mayor based on his experience in City Hall
over the last year. Calls to his office were not returned by press
Rose Pak is a short, rotund woman often pictured dragging on a
cigarette. According to Peskin, “She is very abusive, she is very nasty, and
that intimidates some people and makes some people scared.” She is a powerful
figure in San Francisco, however, and exercises effective control over the
Chinese community. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce did not return
“I believe that what we are witnessing is that Ed Lee is a puppet
who is controlled by Ms. Pak and Mr. Brown [a former, two-term mayor of San
Francisco] and the money influences that they represent,” Peskin stated in the
Aug. 10 interview. “This flies in the face of those fundamental American,
“The connections are deep: Look at the number of trips
that Mr. Lee has taken to the People’s Republic of China with Ms. Pak—many over
the years,” Peskin said.
“The evidence is all there for
people to see, if we want to look at it.”
With reporting by Wu Jianguo
of The Epoch Times, and by Su Nan of New Tang Dynasty Television