Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
District attorney candidate Kamala Harris is facing a sticky dilemma: Put the brakes on campaign spending in the last weeks before the Nov. 4 election or break a pledge to abide by a voluntary spending cap. The first choice could make it more difficult for Harris, a first-time candidate running against an incumbent and a third-time challenger, to get her message out in the last weeks before the election. But if her campaign is the first in the San Francisco DA’s race to spend more than $211,000, she could face a fine of up to $5,000 and potentially even criminal prosecution, under the city’s ethics law. More importantly, she would be handing her opponents a potent weapon, given that she has preached zero tolerance for criminal and ethical misconduct by prosecutors. Both Harris and District Attorney Terence Hallinan agreed to adopt voluntary spending ceilings earlier this year, while opponent Bill Fazio opted not to, according to documents filed with the city’s Ethics Commission and Department of Elections. The voluntary limits cap spending at $211,000 per candidate for the general election in November and $121,000 for a run-off, if there is one. Campaign finance documents submitted as of June 30, plus data on mass-mailer spending since then, indicate Harris is closing in on the $211,000 cap the fastest. She has reported spending about $176,500, while Hallinan has reported $44,500 and Fazio has reported $52,000. The candidates must report by Sept. 25 what they spent between July 1 and Sept. 20. If any of the candidates exceed the spending caps, the limits are lifted for their opponents, said Mabel Ng, deputy executive director of the San Francisco Ethics Commission. But because they signed the pledge, either Harris or Hallinan could face a variety of penalties if they are the first to exceed the limit, Ng said. If convicted of a misdemeanor, the candidate could face up to six months in county jail and termination of his or her candidacy, Ng said. The Harris campaign is keeping its plans for dealing with the issue close to the vest. Harris said she doesn’t know if her campaign is planning to exceed the spending limit and referred the question to her campaign strategist, Jim Stearns. “We’re going to make all of our spending information public when we’re required to do so, Sept. 25,” Stearns said. “Just like everybody else.” Harris told supporters at a fund raiser earlier this week that the campaign needs to keep raising money, and she mentioned that she would like to do a TV ad that would cost $250,000. She has since said she doesn’t think she can actually raise enough money for a TV spot. “That’s in terms of something ideal,” she said Wednesday. “The TV is something very tangible for donors,” Stearns said, but there are “no firm plans” to do an ad at this point.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.