Numerous politicians have been accused in recent years of violating or ignoring the very rules they were elected to uphold.
The latest apparent example involves London Breed, the Democratic mayor of San Francisco, California, who agreed to pay nearly $23,000 in fines for a variety of ethics violations.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Breed reached an agreement with the San Francisco Ethics Commission in connection with a wide-ranging probe focused on violations such as accepting campaign contributions above the legal limit, failing to report such contributions, attempting to use an official title for personal gain, and accepting a gift from a subordinate.
An 11-page stipulation indicated that the first two of those violations occurred in 2015. At that time, Breed represented District 5 on the city’s Board of Supervisors and used her campaign committee to enter a float in the annual Pride Parade.
She reportedly accepted $1,250 from two local business owners in excess of the $500 limit.
The next violation came months after she took office as mayor in 2018. According to the stipulation, she used her new title on official letterhead stationery to seek clemency from then-Gov. Jerry Brown, also a Democrat, on behalf of her incarcerated brother.
Finally, Breed reportedly accepted two gifts in 2019 from then-Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru in the form of payments for repairs to her personal vehicle and for a rental vehicle.
According to KGO, the fines for all violations total a combined $22,792 and will be paid by the mayor personally assuming the agreement is approved by the Ethics Commission during its next meeting.
Breed accepted some blame for her actions during a press conference on Tuesday.
“There were mistakes made,” she said. “I take responsibility for those mistakes and I’ve learned a lot since becoming mayor and being in office. When you make a mistake you step up and you take responsibility for your action, you put it out there and you hope that people will realize you’re human just like anybody else.”
As for her ability to perform the duties of mayor, Breed declared: “At no time have I allowed any of these issues to interfere with the decisions that I make in this office.”
Breed’s attorney, Tom Willis, touted the “good-faith negotiations” that led to the agreement, explaining: “Although there are reasonable explanations for all three matters covered by the stipulation, the mayor has taken responsibility for her mistakes and is ready to move on. The penalties agreed to and assessed are in keeping with similar penalties involving past and current local elected officials, and we believe they are fair.”