San Francisco

San Francisco DA, FBI Form Public Corruption Task Force

District Attorney George Gascón said the days of "pay to play" politics are over.

The San Francisco District Attorney and the FBI on Tuesday morning held a joint news conference to announce the formation of a public corruption task force effective immediately.

District Attorney George Gascón said the days of "pay to play" politics are over.

"You deserve a clean government that works for the people, not city officials," he said, not referring to a specific case that motivated the task force. "If you come into public service, it's not about you."

However, the news comes about three weeks after a joint-announcement by Gascón and FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson who revelead felony bribery and money laundering charges against recently retired Human Rights Commissioner Zula Jones and ex-commissioner Nazly Mohajer.

Keith Jackson, a well-known political consultant, was also charged on Jan. 22 with grand theft, bribery, money-laundering and campaign finance fraud.

"We will aggressively pursue this illegal activity and defend the people of San Francisco against corrupt behavior," Johnson added at the news conference. When appropriate, both agencies will also partner with the city attorney's office, officials said.

Still, neither Gascón nor Johnson would disclose how much each agency is spending on the task force, or how it will be organized.

Both women were implicated last year by attorneys for Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow in taking money from FBI agents investigating Chow on behalf of Mayor Ed Lee.

Jackson was charged with a total of 12 counts, including four counts of bribery, one count of money laundering, one count of grand theft of public money. Jones and Mohajer are each charged with four counts of bribery and one count of money laundering,

The last high-profile corruption case prosecuted by the FBI in San Francisco was in March 2014 when then-Sen. Leland Yee was charged in a wide-ranging firearms trafficking, money laundering, murder-for-hire and drug distribution scandal involving about two dozen defendants. Jackson was swept up in that probe, too. The complaint against Yee named Jackson as a close associate of Lee who had been involved in raising campaign funds for him. 

Wire services contributed to this report.

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