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Spending on political billboards accused of electoral law violations


In a recent report, San Francisco’s campaign watchdog accused campaigners of misconduct related to the 2019 Ellen Lee Zhou mayoral election.

The San Francisco Ethics Commission has persuaded Paul Allen Taylor (who worked on Joe’s campaign and coordinated controversial billboard advertising) to accept donations beyond the legal limit, withhold necessary information, and sanction the campaign. He accused me of not registering as a consultant.

Taylor, 70, is a retired East Bay businessman and 2018 U.S. Senate candidate. criticized.

“I have not violated any campaign rules,” he said. “They are on a hunting expedition to spite me.”

At the center of the controversy was Chinese-American businesswoman Margaret Liu’s donation of $10,000 to the Southern California-based Asian American Free Political Action Commission, which used the funds for billboard advertising.

The report said Taylor “facilitated coordination” between the Political Action Committee and Zhou’s campaign, allowing both groups to circumvent applicable donation and disclosure requirements.

City law prohibits individuals from contributing more than $500 to a single race, and defines the Asian American Liberal Action Committee’s spending of $10,000 as a “contribution in kind” to the campaign. increase.

Taylor rejected the allegations, saying he was not involved in the Political Action Committee and did not hold a formal position in Zhou’s 2019 campaign. Taylor admitted that he received a check from Zhou, but he claimed it was simply to cover some of the costs of designing the sign.

“I’m completely volunteer,” Taylor said. “No profit. I lost money.”

Related item

San Francisco leaders hold a press conference on October 21, 2019 to protest that the Ellen Zhou for Mayor sign on the corner of Dore and Howard streets is racist. | | San Francisco Chronicle by Rea Suzuki/Getty Images

Zhou’s campaign ran a series of billboard ads in 2019. One of them, his cartoon portrayal of the mayor of London Breed, sparked a racist controversy before being taken down.

Taylor accused the ethics committee of ignoring Zhou’s rights.

Zhou said Wednesday afternoon that none of the accusations were true and that she had no paid employees for her campaign.

No date has been set, but the case will be heard at a future Ethics Committee meeting. According to the city charter, if the ethics committee determines there has been a violation, the maximum fine Taylor could face is $187,000.


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