Editor's note: The amount of the contribution from the California Justice & Public Safety PAC was incorrect when first published and corrected on Tuesday, May 31. We regret the error.
A political action committee with a majority of its funding from billionaire investor George Soros has contributed more than $1 million to Diana Becton's campaign for Contra Costa County District Attorney.
Earlier this month, county election filings showed an independent expenditure of just over $400,000 from the California Justice & Public Safety PAC. On May 28, the PAC spent an additional $540,000-plus.
Soros contributed $652,000 of the $1,002,000.
Longtime prosecutor and former senior deputy district attorney Mary Knox is challenging Diana Becton, who has held the office since being appointed in 2017.
"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,” Knox said of the May 28 independent expenditure. “Contra Costa voters will determine the outcome of this election and the future of public safety in Contra Costa County.
“This billionaire‘s 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.”
As of 1 p.m. Sunday, Becton's campaign had not yet responded to a request for a statement.
Becton is a progressive prosecutor who was elected in 2018 on a platform of criminal justice system reform. A member of the “Prosecutor’s Alliance,” Becton has aligned herself with other progressive California DAs Chesa Boudin of San Francisco, George Gascon of Los Angeles, and Tori Verber Salazar of San Joaquin. All four members of the alliance were backed by the Soros-funded PAC in 2018.
Citing rising crime rates in the county and, according to Knox, Becton’s soft-on-crime policies, Knox promises to “stand up for victims and work hand-in-hand with local police departments to reduce crime.”
Knox has been a prosecutor for 37 years. She is the “former” senior deputy DA because she was demoted by Becton. Knox filed a political retaliation complaint against Becton alleging the demotion came after Knox revealed she was supporting Becton's opponent in the 2018 election.
Knox is also one of four women in the DA’s office who sued Becton in 2020 alleging she denied more experienced women promotions while promoting inexperienced men.
Knox has raised more than $520,000 in contributions. Contra Costans for Progress and Justice, a coalition of business, labor and people that care about public safety in support of Mary Knox for District Attorney 2022 gave more than $250,000 through May 21, and included $190,000 from Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriff's Association Independent Expenditure PAC.
"I have served our community for 37 years as a prosecutor," Knox said. "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 Contra Costa’s District Attorney, I will restore public safety, enforce our laws and work to prevent crime.”