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DA Jenkins pocketed six figures as consultant for nonprofit linked to Boudin recall backers

DA Brooke Jenkins speaks to the press at her office in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, August 3, 2022. | Juliana Yamada/The Standard

Brooke Jenkins didn’t just quit her job as a local prosecutor to volunteer for the recall against her former boss Chesa Boudin.

Newly filed ethics records show she also raked in more than $100,000 as a consultant for Neighbors for a Better San Francisco, a nonprofit that shares an address and virtually the same name as the organization behind the district attorney’s recall but is legally a separate entity. A board member for both groups was also one of the biggest funders supporting the recall.

Attempts to reach representatives for both Neighbors for a Better San Francisco and Neighbors for a Better San Francisco Advocacy—the latter of which supported the recall—to clarify their relationship to one another and connections to the campaign to oust Boudin were not successful. 

Jenkins earned the six-figure salary in the roughly six months before Mayor London Breed appointed her district attorney on July 8, according to a spokesperson for the DA and a form she filed this week reporting her economic interests. During that period, Jenkins was volunteering as a spokesperson on the recall campaign.

This marks the first time Jenkins publicly disclosed the earnings from Neighbors for a Better San Francisco.

The revelation comes a day after Jenkins officially declared her candidacy in the November election to complete the term Boudin did not finish. While other candidates are in the running, Boudin has decided not to challenge her.

Jenkins came into the public spotlight last fall after resigning from office to become a spokesperson for the recall, slamming Boudin in the press and accusing him of prioritizing criminal justice reform over public safety.

Her appointment last month came as a surprise since Jenkins was a political newcomer compared to other potential Boudin replacements. She has since positioned herself as a crime fighter who will tackle drug dealing as her main issue.

Neighbors for a Better San Francisco is among several nonprofits Jenkins disclosed working for in the 12 months preceding her appointment. She also reported earning between $10,000 and $100,000 from the nonprofit GlobalSF and also from Sister’s Circle Women Support Network.

While the exact dollar amounts are unclear because the form only asked for a range, a spokesperson for Jenkins said she took home about $115,000 from all the nonprofits after taxes between December 2021 and this July.

In a statement, Jenkins said she worked as a consultant for the nonprofits after quitting her job to provide a “new source of income to help support my family and small children.” She made about $172,000 before benefits as a prosecutor in 2020, according to the website Transparent California.

“It was a tough decision to leave my dream career during a pandemic and rising economic uncertainty,” she wrote, “but it was the right choice for my family and me.”

Jenkins said her roles focused on “public safety and other legal work supporting communities ranging from formerly incarcerated women, to helping advise the business community on public safety concerns and issues.”

“I compiled legal analysis, research, reports, and provided advice for all of these organizations and their respective issue areas,” she said.

The nonprofit that paid Jenkins, Neighbors for a Better San Francisco, is not allowed to participate in campaigns for or against political candidates because of its status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

The organization appears to be the nonpartisan counterpart of the group behind the recall, Neighbors for a Better San Francisco Advocacy, which as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit can legally get involved in political campaigns and causes. 

Though legally separate, the nonprofits are both registered at the same address belonging to a law firm in San Rafael, according to IRS records.

The Neighbors advocacy nonprofit is listed as the sponsor for the big spending political action committee by the same name that raised some $4.8 million of the $7.1 million contributed to oust Boudin from office.

The committee, Neighbors for a Better San Francisco Advocacy PAC, is known for supporting moderates and bankrolling campaigns opposing candidates from the progressive faction of city politics.

Records show the PAC received hundreds of thousands in the months leading up to the Boudin recall from wealthy donors including billionaire investor William Oberndorf as well as Shorenstein Realty and Kilroy Realty. (Disclosure: Michael Moritz, venture capitalist and initial investor in the The Standard, also contributed to the committee in September 2020, nearly two years before the Boudin recall.)

Oberndorf also served as a board member for both of the Neighbors nonprofits.

On its website, Neighbors for a Better San Francisco describes itself as a “civic-minded group of San Franciscans committed to improving public safety, public education, and quality of life for our city.”

Representatives for the Neighbors nonprofits and PAC did not return requests for comment via phone and email.

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