United States

SF Dem alerts IRS to Republican-backed nonprofit’s conveniently-timed award

(The Center Square) – Ryan Khojasteh, a California Democrat and candidate for San Francisco district attorney, filed an IRS complaint against a local nonprofit for providing San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins an award before a mayoral debate the organization is hosting.

“Undoubtedly, this is biased political activity in the context of the upcoming election. The fact that you have never given out this award confirms this,” wrote Khojasteh in a letter announcing his filed complaint. “It is notable that you have strategically organized the award ceremony and speech right before the beginning of a highly anticipated debate, which is when one can expect to receive the most attention.”

Stop Crime San Francisco is hosting San Francisco’s third mayoral debate and is giving a “Crimefighter of the Year” award to Jenkins before the event. Jenkins and incumbent San Francisco Mayor London Breed have pivoted to anti-crime positions as the upcoming election looms. Khojasteh is a prosecutor whose experience includes serving as assistant district attorney and deputy district attorney. Jenkins became district attorney after winning a recall election after the ousting of Chesa Boudin, the handpicked successor of criminal justice reform advocate and former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, who left his post in San Francisco to become Los Angeles District Attorney in 2020.

Khojasteh is also running on a tough-on-crime platform, demonstrating that whomever San Franciscans pick to serve as their district attorney, residents could expect anti-crime prosecutors.

Stop Crime San Francisco has received significant funding from Neighbors for a Better San Francisco, a group the San Francisco Standard says is largely funded by billionaire and major Republican donor William Oberndorf.

SCSF responded to Khojasteh in a letter of its own, noting Jenkins is clearly able to receive an award and speak in a non-candidate capacity.

“While your vigilance in ensuring compliance with non-profit laws is commendable, it is equally important to respect the rights of organizations to recognize the efforts of individuals contributing to their cause, and the rights of all individuals to personal free expression,” wrote SCSF President Karina Velásquez in a letter. “We believe that the presentation of our first “Crimefighter of the Year” award to District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, and her subsequent speech, fall within the bounds of lawful activity for a 501(c)(3) organization.”

San Francisco’s district attorney election is on November 5, 2024, and will be on the ballot with other federal, state and local elections. The consolidated city-county faces a $3 billion budget deficit over the next four years. Breed retains a slight 2% edge in polling over opponent Mark Farrell,a businessman and former San Francisco mayor and County Supervisor.

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