Billionaire Soros, special interests dump $1 million into Contra Costa DA’s race to support Becton, defeat Knox

From pages 1 and 3 of the CA Justice & Public Safety PAC 496 report dated May 28, 2022, showing the $489,200 spent against Knox and $652,000 contributed by Soros. Source:

Including $510,000 more in attack ads against Knox; Soros contributes $652,000

“This money will not drown out the voices of the hundreds of volunteers and thousands of local donors who have worked tirelessly side-by-side with me over the past 11 months to spread our campaign’s message…” – Deputy D.A. Mary Knox

By Allen D. Payton

The Washington, D.C.-based PAC funded by billionaire George Soros has received just over $1 million to help re-elect incumbent Contra Costa D.A. Diana Becton and defeat her challenger, Deputy D.A. Mary Knox. According to two campaign finance reports on submitted by the California Justice & Public Safety PAC date May 28, Soros contributed $652,000, the Smart Justice California Action Fund contributed $300,000 and M. Quinn Delaney of Piedmont contributed $50,000.

According to their website, Smart Justice California is “an alliance of donors and funders…helping to change the belief that prosecutors must be incarceration-driven by engaging voters and establishing a statewide candidate pipeline of justice reform champions.”

The report lists Delaney as retired. But according to the organization’s website, she “is the Founder and Board Chair of Akonadi Foundation, which supports the development of powerful social change movements to eliminate structural racism and create a racially just society. The Foundation funds primarily in Oakland with a focus on ending the criminalization of people of color.”

6/2/22 UPDATE & CORRECTION: That brings the total received by the PAC to $1,002,000 in the race, so far. (See related article)

It was previously reported that the $1 million in contributions was in addition to over $400,000 previously spent according to the PAC’s Form 496 reports dated May 14 for a total of more than $1.4 million in contributions. However, according to Alex Navarro-Mckay of New York-based Berlin Rosen campaigns said, “when the $400,000 was spent the PAC was incurring liabilities.” Asked when the ads started running, he responded, “right around there. May 13 or 14.”

That means the PAC spent over $400,000 on negative, digital attack ads against Knox before the funds were received on May 17, 26 and 27. Most media companies require political campaigns to pay in advance.

Of the latest amount received, almost $500,000 was spent on negative attack ads against Knox and another $10,050 was spent for digital ads against her. The PAC only spent $34,900 on digital ads to support Becton.

In response to those contributions and expenditures to defeat her, Knox released the following statement:

“An out-of-state billionaire along with special interest groups have now dropped an unprecedented $1M to defeat my campaign and influence voters for District Attorney in this local election.  Contra Costa voters will determine the outcome of this election and the future of public safety in Contra Costa County. This money will not drown out the voices of the hundreds of volunteers and thousands of local donors who have worked tirelessly side-by-side with me over the past 11 months to spread our campaign’s message,” said. “I have served this community for 37 years as a prosecutor. The bottom line is this, people in our community want to feel safe in their neighborhoods. Every day I talk to voters who are frustrated with D.A. Becton and want to see their District Attorney focused on public safety and crime reduction.”

As previously reported, Becton was 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, but she did not respond. Becton was also the beneficiary of spending by Soros during her first election campaign in 2018. (See related article)

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.

Knox and Becton 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.

the attachments to this post:

CA Justice & Public Safety PAC 496 052822 – Oppose Knox from p1 & 3

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