D.C.-based California Justice & Public Safety PAC with major funding from Soros has reported more than $400,000 in spending to influence voters in the 2022 Contra Costa DA Race
Knox also benefits from out-of-county funds, but most are from within Contra Costa including $170,000 from Deputy Sheriff’s Association PAC
By Allen D. Payton
Over $400,000 has been spent by the California Justice & Public Safety Political Action Committee based in Washington, D.C. to support Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton’s re-election campaign. According to a Form 496 report filed on May 14 by the committee on the Netfile.com website, $206,700 in expenditures were made for “Digital Advertisement Production Supporting Diana Becton”. An additional $201,387.03 was spent by the independent expenditure committee according to another Form 496 report filed on May 14 on “Digital Advertisement Production Opposing Mary Knox”. California Justice & Public Safety PAC Form 496 051422 #1 California Justice & Public Safety PAC Form 496 051422 #2
According to influencewatch.org, “California Justice & Public Safety PAC is a left-of-center PAC that was created in 2018 to fund the campaigns of progressive Democratic candidates for district attorney in several cities in California. The organization is the California branch of the vast ‘Safety and Justice’ network, a project of left-leaning billionaire George Soros that used a network of similarly named state-level PACs to finance the campaigns of progressive Democratic candidates for district attorney in more than a dozen of America’s cities.”
According to the Justice & Public Safety PAC website, the Soros-backed effort has been “winning races in 14 states over the last 6 years.” Also according to influencewatch.org, “Justice and Public Safety PAC is a left-of-center PAC that focuses on supporting the campaigns of progressive district attorneys in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The PAC receives most of its funding from left-leaning billionaire George Soros and Democracy PAC, which also receives much of its funding from Soros.  It is one of several similarly-named PACs that receive substantial funding from Soros and contribute to the campaigns of progressive district attorneys across the U.S.”
They include Becton both during her 2018 campaign, and now, this year’s. The progressive Democrat DA’s also include San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin and Los Angeles County’s George Gascon, both of whom are facing possible recalls. Becton formed a statewide organization with them and San Joaquin County DA Tori Verber Salazar, entitled Prosecutors Alliance of California.
Knox’s Campaign Also Benefits from Out-of-County PAC Funds, But Most to Independent Committee from Within Contra Costa
Knox’s campaign was also the beneficiary of out-of-county political action committee funds, including $10,000 from the Oakland Police Officer’s Association PAC on May 5. According to the Netfile.com website a Form 496 was filed by the Contra Costans for Progress and Justice, a coalition of business, labor and people that care about public safety in support of Mary Knox for District Attorney 2022 showing $50,096 was spent on a “Mailer (Estimated Costs)” and showing the “Cumulative to date total $70,684.75” which the Oakland POA’s PAC helped pay for. Contra Costans for Progress & Justice PAC Form 496 050322 Contra Costans for Progress & Justice PAC Form 496 050522 Contra Costans for Progress & Justice PAC Form 496 051922
However, according to a separate Form 496 report filed on May 3 by the independent expenditure committee most of their funds spent were from within Contra Costa County, including $170,000 from the Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriff’s Association Independent Expenditure PAC, $7,500 from Alves Ranch Property Holdings, LLC in Alamo, $10,000 from the Concord Police Association PAC, $3,000 from the Brentwood Police Officers Association PAC and $2,500 from the Walnut Creek Police Association PAC (WCPA PAC). Contributions of $500 each were received from the Moraga and Pleasant Hill Police Officers Associations PACS. A total of $3,600 in contributions included in that report were received from sources outside of the county. The report shows $20,588.75 was spent on digital ads to support Knox’s campaign.
The most recent Form 496 report filed on May 19 by the Contra Costans for Progress and Justice committee shows an additional $20,000 contribution from the Contra Costa Deputy Sheriff’s Association PAC, $20,000 from the Peace Officers Research Association of California PAC (PORAC PAC) Small Contributor Committee based in Sacramento and an additional $2,500 from two Contra Costa County residents. The report also shows an additional $29,316 was spent on a mailer and shows cumulative to date total expenditures of $100,000.70.
Questions for Becton Go Unanswered
Becton was asked for comment about the spending by the PAC and funds from Soros via email Friday morning, May 20. She was also asked if it is good to have so much out-of-county and out-of-state funds spent to influence an election in Contra Costa County. Becton did not respond.
Knox Issues Statement
Knox’s campaign issued the following this week:
In light of recently reported contributions from an out-of-state PAC funded by George Soros, Mary Knox, candidate for Contra Costa District Attorney released the following statement:
“An out-of-state billionaire is now spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in an attempt to influence voters and drown out the voices of local donors in the District Attorney’s race,” said Deputy District Attorney Knox. “Our grassroots campaign has deeply resonated with Contra Costa voters who want to see our DA focused on restoring safety and reducing crime. It’s clear that my campaign has made an impact that is now driving out-of-state spending in this race. I remain focused on ensuring our message reaches voters across our county.”
Knox has served as a prosecutor in the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office for 37 years and has extensive trial experience. Knox has earned the endorsement of every law enforcement agency in the County, as well as state and local organizations such as the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, PORAC, the California Narcotics Officers Association and the California Gang Investigators Association. Mary has advanced social justice while preventing crime in Contra Costa County. She brought anti-bias training to the District Attorney’s Office and has fought to end discrimination against women in the Contra Costa County’s District Attorney’s Office.
Mary Knox and the incumbent are the only candidates running for election as District Attorney. Since this election will be won by a simple majority, the election of the next District Attorney of Contra Costa County will be determined by the votes cast on June 7, 2022.
About Mary Knox
Mary Knox has dedicated her life to making Contra Costa County safer. For more than 37 years, Mary has served as an experienced prosecutor and advocate for crime victims. As a lead prosecutor in the District Attorney’s office, Mary has won high profile cases against some of the most notorious criminals in Contra Costa County history. She worked to dismantle the criminal gangs who have preyed upon our most disadvantaged communities, and she has engaged in meaningful violence reduction by instituting effective strategies to reduce crime and prosecute violent criminals. To discourage freeway shootings, she secured $3.5 million for freeway security cameras. She brought in $3.5 million in federal funding to combat sex trafficking. And, after recent smash and grab robberies, Mary developed a three-point plan to hold organized crime syndicates accountable and prevent future crimes.
Born and raised in Walnut Creek, Mary Knox attended UCLA and then Pepperdine Law School.
During law school, Mary worked as a law clerk in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in the Sexual Assault Unit and in a second clerkship in the Juvenile Unit. Once Mary graduated from law school, she came home and has worked as a prosecutor in the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s for the past 37 years while raising her son, Darien, as a single mother.
Key Endorsements (for a complete list visit maryknox4da.com):
- Crime Victims United
- Police Officer Research Association of California (PORAC)
- California Narcotic Officers’ Association (CNOA)
- California Correctional Peace Officers Association
- Central Coast Gang Investigators Association
- National Latino Police Officer Association – Contra Costa County NLPOA Advocacy Chapter
- Chinese American Political Association (CAPA) PAC
- Contra Costa County Sheriff, David Livingston
- Mitchell Celaya III, Calistoga Police Chief
- Douglas Krathwal, Retired San Pablo Police Chief
- Joseph Aida, Retired San Pablo Police Chief
- Walt Schuld, Retired San Pablo Police Chief
- John Moore, Retired Pleasant Hill Police Chief
- Dan Lawrence, Retired Clayton Police Chief
- Tom Holt, Former Police Lieutenant from the Contra Costa Community College District
- Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association
- Contra Costa District Attorney Investigators Association
- El Cerrito Police Officer Association
- Hercules Police Officer Association
- Martinez Police Officer Association
- Oakley Police Officer Association
- Pinole Police Officer Association
- Pittsburg Police Officer Association
- Pleasant Hill Police Officer Association
- San Ramon Police Officer Association
- Antioch Police Officer Association
- BART Police Officer Association
- Brentwood Police Officer Association
- Richmond Police Officer Association
- San Pablo Police Employees’ Association
- Clayton Police Officer Association
- Concord Police Officer Association
- East Bay Regional Parks Police Officer Association
- Walnut Creek Police Officer Association
To learn more about incumbent DA Becton’s campaign, click here. The election is June 7.