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Ethics violations will cost Breed nearly $23,000 in fines

The San Francisco Ethics Commission will fine Mayor London Breed a reported total of $22,792 for ethics violations she’s committed while in office, documents revealed on Tuesday.

Breed acknowledged the fines and said she has agreed to pay them following numerous discussions between her office and the Ethics Commission.

The fines reportedly stem from four violations she committed while in office, as both mayor and District 5 supervisor.

Two violations reportedly occurred in 2015, while Breed was still supervisor, when she allegedly received campaign contributions in connection with a San Francisco Pride Parade float that she failed to disclose and that also exceeded the legal limit.

In another violation, in 2018, Breed asked former Gov. Jerry Brown to reduce her brother’s prison sentence — a personal matter — but used letterhead with her title as mayor on it.

Ching Wong/SFBay House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, left, and San Francisco Mayor London Breed, center, San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, left, countdown to turning on the bus schedule screen inside the new Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, Aug 10, 2018.

The final violation happened in 2019 when Breed failed to disclose gifts from former San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, a subordinate to Breed and who has also since been charged by federal prosecutors with wire fraud.

Breed said she’s taking full responsibility for her mistakes.

She said:

“I have worked in collaboration with the Ethics Commission to come to this proposed resolution. I believe it is fair, and I hope that it can be approved by the commissioners. While nothing stipulated here had any effect on my decision-making as Mayor, it is important that as Mayor that I lead by example and take responsibility for my actions.” 

Breed added:

“I’ve learned a lot over the last two years since the most recent of these events took place, and I’ve learned from this process. During this pandemic, I’ve also learned a lot about what it means to be Mayor of a city. I have always and will always put this City and its residents first. No one should be afraid of taking accountability when we make mistakes.” 

The agreement between Breed and the Ethics Commission still needs approval by the commission, and it is expected to happen at the commission’s next meeting on Aug. 13. The commission will present staff recommendations for changing the city’s gift laws and reducing “corrupting influence” in the same meeting.

Breed’s attorney Tom Willis said:

“This resolution is the result of good-faith negotiations with Ethics Commission staff. … The stipulation covers three matters — two from early in the mayor’s tenure and one from six years ago when she was a member of the Board of Supervisors. None of these incidents had any effect on her decision-making as Mayor, and the Ethics Commission hasn’t found anything to that effect. Although there are reasonable explanations for all three matters covered by the stipulation, the mayor has taken responsibility for her mistakes and is ready to move on. The penalties agreed to and assessed are in keeping with similar penalties involving past and current local elected officials, and we believe they are fair.”

The Ethics Commission did not wish to comment on the fines.

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