SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Mayor Ed Lee’s squeaky clean image is under fire. The mayor talked exclusively to KPIX 5 about allegations that he was the target of an undercover FBI sting.
“It almost reads like a comic book,” Lee told KPIX 5, KCBS and San Francisco Chronicle insider Phil Matier.READ MORE: San José School District Secures Vaccine for Entire Workforce
Filings by attorneys representing Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow allege that the Chinatown tong leader was being prosecuted for racketeering, while politicians like Mayor Ed Lee, who were also the target of FBI stings, were given a pass.
“I think it’s a little sad that he has to try to smear everybody else that he can get his hands on,” Lee said.
At issue: an undercover agent who allegedly funneled $10,000 into the mayor’s campaign, and was rewarded allegedly with a private meeting with Lee to discuss business opportunities.
Matier: “What was your reaction to learning that the FBI had used undercover agents to funnel money into your campaign?”
Lee: “It’s an allegation. You know we don’t know that for a fact. We’ve checked every donation that we have. . .We do not know of any individual who didn’t legitimately give to our campaign, And those that we did uncover we returned them so they were clean.”
Matier: “Do you recall a meeting on Front Street with these individuals?”READ MORE: Golden Gate Fields Races to Make Up for Missed Vaccine Appointments
Lee: “I recall fundraisers. I recall a lot of meetings, a lot of people three years ago. I do not recall any specific meetings with folks…Meeting people is one thing doing something that is inappropriate is completely different and we have always been very thorough on that.”
Matier: “Have the feds subsequently contacted you or your campaign?”
Lee: “No they have not. We’ve actually been proactive trying to say, ‘Is there something here we should be paying attention to?’ And they have been silent.”
Still, the FBI did try.
Matier: “According to their own filings, they set up an operation aimed at the Ed Lee campaign.”
Lee: “And what did they find, Phil? They found nothing.”
The mayor went on to say, “Am I bothered? I’m not bothered by the fact that people come after me. Being a public figure, anybody is free to do anything. What I have to do is make sure that I hold myself and my team and my staff accountable to comply with all the laws to make sure that we are conducting the city’s business in the right way.”MORE NEWS: Study Shows Stockton Universal Basic Income Experiment Led to Increased Employment
Neither the feds nor anyone else has come up with proof that the mayor did any favors for anyone in return for campaign cash.