Post image for Shadow Money May Set Record

Shadow Money May Set Record

by Oliver Luby on 10/21/2012

in Paper Trails

Independent spending regarding San Francisco Board of Supervisors contests, 2002 – 2012
Independent spending refers to campaign spending by independent groups or persons which is not coordinated with any candidates.

I. Year-to-year historical comparison



# of candidates directly impacted by Independent spending

Total Independent spending on candidates

Largest amount of opposition spending

Largest amount of supportive spending

District with greatest Independent spending




Dudum, D4, $4,000

Hansen, D8, $104,000






McGoldrick, D1,


Elsbernd, D7,







Daly, D6,


Black, D6,


D6, $438,000




Mar, D1,


Mar, D1,







Reilly, D2,


Mandelman, D8,





(to date)



Mar, D1,


Lee, D1,





II. Examination of 2012 Supervisor contest most affected by Independent spending

Independent spending in District 1

For Lee:         $253,000
Against Lee:    $44,000

For Mar:          $21,000

Against Mar:   $67,000

Total D1:       $384,000

Affected D1 candidates’ own contributions & expenditures
Mar’s contributions: $210,000
Lee’s contributions: $262,000

Mar’s spending: $156,000
Lee’s spending: $190,000

Total D1 spending by top two candidates: $346,000
Amount by which Independent spending exceeded total candidate spending: $38,000

III. Conclusions

1. Greatest amount of Independent spending on a District:

2010, District 8

2. Greatest amount of oppositional spending:

2008, Eric Mar

3. Greatest amount of supportive spending:

2012, David Lee

4. The current Independent spending in District 1 exceeds the total combined spending by candidates Mar and Lee.

5. Based on the current amount already spent by this point in the election, the independent spending in the 2012 District 1 contest will possibly if not likely surpass the reported total independent spending of 2006 and 2010, which would make 2012 the year of the greatest amount of independent spending on a single Supervisor contest during 2002 – 2012.

Note: Independent spending amounts for the year 2000 were not included in the above comparisons because the Ethics Commission has not released a comprehensive report for that year.  However, available information indicates that 2000 saw massive amounts of independent spending.  According to the 2002 Public Financing report of the Ethics Commission, Independent spending on the 11 Supervisor contests occurring in 2000 totaled $7,070,000.


  1. Public Financing reports released by the San Francisco Ethics Commission (;
  2. Currently reported total Third Party spending for 2012, according to what the Ethics Commission has posted (;
  3. The filed reports of candidates Eric Mar and David Lee, from the Ethics Commission’s database.





Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: