Matt Gonzalez on ending the Pelosi dynasty

At a time Democrats in Congress need to reassert progressive priorities and defend hard found principals—such as a commitment to universal health care including abortion rights, and human rights in the face of rising militarism & xenophobia—Shahid Buttar has emerged as the candidate that best exemplifies San Francisco values.

His opponent, Nancy Pelosi, who never held elective office before winning the seat, has refused to debate any opponent in over 30 years in office. When her record is examined carefully, it’s apparent that she has not been aligned with our city’s core values for decades. As hard as it may be for some to believe, she has recently supported anti-choice candidates (against a progressive pro-choice candidate) and she has come under scrutiny for amassing wealth from insider trading opportunities. When confronted, she has failed to give an adequate explanation, which in turn has provided fodder for critics on the right to show the left’s hypocrisy. San Francisco deserves political voices who share our city’s values, not those who have built careers alleging support for them while undermining them in practice.

When I served as President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, I came from outside the city’s political establishment and helped shift the political landscape at City Hall. That’s one reason I’m excited to endorse another voice from outside the establishment who will steer Congress in the progressive direction it desperately needs to move toward.

Although the press and his opponent will not engage him, it is not because Shahid lacks talent or isn’t worthy of attention. He is a rare human being who would be an important part of the transformation that must take place in Congress if we are to make advances in our policy agenda, progress many of us have been waiting decades for. In my opinion, Shahid is among the very finest political candidates I have seen emerge in San Francisco in the over thirty years that I have been closely watching.

San Francisco’s representative in Congress should be an exciting voice for new ideas and someone who stands up to the corrupt values so many congresspersons are aligned with. I know Shahid would make our city proud. For twenty years, he’s worked both across the Bay Area and across the entire country to challenge the militarism and domestic surveillance in which Pelosi has long been complicit. That’s the kind of track record I want from a candidate.

In 2020, Shahid won more votes against Pelosi than any challenger she has ever faced, obtaining over 80,000 votes, despite being outspent 15 to 1. With greater exposure, I know San Franciscans will see the same traits and potential I see in his candidacy.

It’s time for San Franciscans to elect a person who truly represents us in Washington, someone who exemplifies our values. I’m proud to support Shahid, and invite you to do the same.

Sincerely,

Matt Gonzalez

Chief Attorney, San Francisco Public Defender's Office
Former President, San Francisco Board of Supervisors, 2003
Green Party Vice Presidential nominee, 2008


Susan Sarandon on ending the Pelosi dynasty

I’m tired of the nonsense from Washington. In the midst of a global pandemic that has left a million Americans dead, and a global climate catastrophe that threatens the future of humanity and all life on Earth, Washington is spending nearly $800 billion every year on weapons and war, instead of meeting the needs confronting our communities, and the future we all share.

That’s why I’m writing to invite you to join me in doing our part together to force a course correction—before the future is forced to pay an incalculable price.

In June (and hopefully, again in November), San Francisco has the opportunity to vote for someone willing to speak up even when it’s not politically expedient. I want to explain why I support Shahid Buttar as the next elected Representative for California’s 11th congressional district.

Each of us has the chance to stand up and reclaim your power from billionaires and corporations. Can you contribute whatever you can comfortably afford today to send a movement champion to Washington?

My decision to support Shahid did not come lightly. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a powerful woman who has broken glass ceilings and risen to the very top of our government. Her example has inspired many women, including me.

But she’s also chosen to stand in the way of programs that I know Americans need. Universal healthcare—which she once claimed to support—has been sitting on her desk for 30 years. Her decision to block it has forced Americans to bear levels of medical debt never seen before in human history.

Pelosi opposes calls to cancel student debt, absurdly arguing that Americans should have the right not to pay the costs of others—ignoring, of course, that we’re all forced to pay the Pentagon’s inflated costs, whether we like it or not. Meanwhile, we’re all funding a proxy war in Yemen that has killed nearly half a million people.

The Speaker of the House has been no friend to the working class. Freezing the federal minimum wage for over a decade, while engineering repeated tax breaks favoring the wealthy, reveals her priorities. Kids are still in cages at our nation’s borders, detained without rights under administrations led by Republicans and Democrats alike in camps that she funded without protections for human rights.

I know change isn’t going to come from the top-down.

We’re going to have to force it, from the bottom-up!

Speaking truth to power isn’t always easy, but the real mark of a truthteller is that they don’t care about the consequences. Can you join me in supporting another voice with that same commitment?

I’ve watched Shahid speak truth to power, and I’ve watched him pay a price for it. He demonstrates the kind of commitment to the future that I want to see in policymakers.

For example, Shahid deserves credit for raising the controversy about congressional insider trading years before anyone in Washington. After establishment media and lawmakers on both sides finally took notice, Nancy (who is among the wealthiest members of a Congress composed mostly of millionaires) abandoned her previous opposition to reform.

It’s not the first time that Shahid and his campaign forced the Speaker of the House to shift positions. Last year, after her initial refusal, we forced Pelosi to support the Protecting Right to Organize Act to make it easier for workers to form unions and enforce their rights against union-busting employers.

That’s especially important now, as we see inspiring movements of workers from teachers to baristas, Amazon warehouse workers, and miners taking action to assert their rights. Shahid showed solidarity when the powerful, wealthy Speaker of the House found it inconvenient.

It’s a pattern that has defined his career. In the 2000s, Pelosi hedged her bets on marriage equality, leaving LGBTQ rights to the states. Shahid, in sharp contrast, was one of our country’s first legal advocates for the rights of LGBTQ couples to marry.

Even before the Ferguson uprising in 2014, Shahid was organizing campaigns from coast-to-coast to end racial profiling. Meanwhile, Pelosi was instructing Democrats to pander to the movement for Black lives without embracing its demands. Later, she knelt in Congress wearing kente cloth, while passing a bill named after George Floyd that would expand police budgets and surveillance.

Shahid has stood for principles—like justice, accountability, opportunity, and fairness—long before they become popular. That’s why I stand with him.

Can you join me & Shahid and help us end the Pelosi dynasty? The future isn’t here to protect itself—so the voices taking action in the present to keep it alive need and deserve your support.

Despite having publicly pledged that 2020 would be her final term as Speaker, Nancy is running again, and might be twisting the political process to favor her family. Her daughter, Christine, was named as her potential successor by reporters in 2021 and 2022, despite having never wielded public office or run for any seat.

I had an indirect interaction with Christine after I endorsed Bernie Sanders, as well as Shahid, in 2020. Christine called Bernie, and the New York Times reported that she was upset that I had endorsed Shahid. Why is the daughter of the Speaker of the House calling a presidential candidate to complain about who I, an actress, support?

Entitlement is always ugly, but it’s worse when wielded by people with power. The possibility of a child inheriting a congressional seat from her wealthy mother offends democracy, even if the Pelosis weren’t trying to game the election process by setting up a special election to favor Christine in the same way that Nancy won her seat in 1987.

The oligarchy that the United States is descending into isn’t limited to the entitlement of elites. It includes the demonization—even the detention and incarceration—of American citizens whose only crime was to challenge corporate corruption.

Steven Donziger, a human rights lawyer who challenged Chevron’s refusal to clean up indigenous land along the Amazon River, was just freed from house arrest after enduring the first corporate prosecution in our country’s history.

Reality Winner, who discovered a document indicating Russian interference with the 2016 U.S. election and shared it with the press, served nearly three years in prison.

Julian Assange continues to face prosecution for the crime of exposing government secrets, threatening the rights of journalists to report the truth, and the public’s right to know it.

Over the course of his congressional campaigns, Shahid has been openly critical of this corruption. He fought for civil rights, peace & justice, and constitutional limits on government power from the streets to the courtroom. He’s the only national non-profit leader I’ve ever known to be arrested in the Senate for an act of journalism.

Shahid is not only a fierce political voice, but also a poet and musician. His revolutionary spirit is reflected in his poetry, and his voice is as fearless as it is insightful. It’s exactly what the Left needs in Congress.

Shahid‘s campaign brings to mind the words of another poet and singer/songwriter, the late Leonard Cohen. In his song “Anthem,” he sings, “They’ve summoned up a thundercloud, and they’re going to hear from me.”

Please donate whatever you can afford in order to join me, send Shahid to Congress, and ensure that they hear from Us.

Sincerely,
Susan


Shahid Buttar, Nancy Pelosi’s 2022 Election Challenger Who Raised Concerns Over Insider Trading, Available For Commentary Ahead of House Committee Hearing

Int Availability:  March 14-16, 2022
CONTACT:  [email protected] / 202-351-1757

Shahid Buttar, Nancy Pelosi’s 2022 Election Challenger Who Raised Concerns Over Insider Trading, Available For Commentary Ahead of House Committee Hearing

Buttar explains seven key issues still missing from the debate and pending reform proposals 

SAN FRANCISCO— Ahead of the long overdue congressional hearing exploring insider trading by federal policymakers, Shahid Buttar, Nancy Pelosi’s challenger in the CA-11 election, releases the following statement.

Buttar, whose campaign had a key hand in driving the reform process, is available for further interviews.

“This week’s hearing is long overdue, and is also far from enough. We can’t let Congress slide by with the bare minimum while ultimately doing nothing meaningful to address the issue of corporate corruption invited by conflicts of interest and divided loyalties. If the debate continues as it has, any resulting legislation will include massive loopholes and fail to address the problem,” said Buttar.

“Insider trading is the cornerstone of the corporate corruption infecting every single issue that Congress considers. Just last week, members of Congress were caught making private trades to profit from energy prices in the days before escalation in Ukraine drove up the price of oil. Private portfolio positions that profit from international conflict are a perfect example of a disturbing pattern poised to continue even under the reform proposals that have been announced,”  he adds.

Buttar notes that the discussion and the reform proposals that have been introduced unfortunately remain tragically limited. Among the several issues that should be at the center of the debate, only a few have been acknowledged, let alone resolved in any way that would favor the public, rather than oligarchs masquerading as policymakers.

Buttar suggests seven questions that must be considered to ensure that reform legislation proves effective.

  1. Loopholes: Will the proposed ban on congressional insider trading include members of their families, as do existing laws constraining corporate executives? Pending reform proposals differ on this point, while entirely ignoring each of those below.

  2. Underinclusion: What other requirements beyond a proposed ban on insider trading will prevent similar conflicts of interest introduced through other means (e.g. relationships with lobbyists, corporate executives, or billionaires)?

  3. Correcting policy impacts: Insider trading was never ethical, and has invited conflicts of interest that have infected federal policymaking for several generations. Which areas of federal policymaking have been substantively skewed as a result of the divided loyalties of Members of Congress? On what schedule will Congress revisit previous policies addressing issues such as healthcare, climate justice, and social needs, on which their decisions were unethically influenced by conflicts of interest?

  4. What other dimensions of corruption continue to lurk unobserved? For example, Nancy Pelosi’s substantial real estate portfolio introduces conflicts of interest beyond her stock positions that skew her decisions on policies related to housing and financial regulation. Beyond insider trading, how else do the financial interests of policymakers undermine their independence and capacity to faithfully represent their constituents?

  5. Who else? Laws intended to stop money laundering have long blocked transparency into private equity instruments and hedge funds, which largely as a result have become among the preferred methods of money laundering for oligarchs from America to Russia.How many members of Congress, and which ones among them, in particular, have embraced corruption by profiting at public expense, and for how long? These are crucial questions for congressional ethics committees to investigate and document, but the committees have buried their heads rather than do the important work. Their failure further suggests the inability of Congress to police itself.

  6. Consequences: Will the vulture-capitalists-masquerading-as-policymakers be required to return their fraudulent capital gains enabled by insider trading in the past?

  7. The Emoluments Clause (for which Pelosi twice gave Trump a free pass) prohibits self-enrichment by public officials at the public’s expense. Have policymakers who have traded stocks, equities, commodities, and related derivatives have violated the Emoluments Clause? On how many occasions? Who is poised, other than voters, to hold corrupt politicians accountable? And what role should / will the press play in the process?”

As a constitutional lawyer, public interest policy advocate, and longtime national non-profit leader, Buttar is running on a platform to prioritize human rights to housing and healthcare, social needs including climate justice and racial justice, and an end to the bipartisan corporate corruption of Congress. He worked for Wall Street banks in the 90s while pursuing his undergraduate education, and organized a grassroots rally at Pelosi’s San Francisco office in 2021 focused on her unapologetic defense of congressional insider trading. His work drawing attention to this longstanding locus of corruption was recently covered by publications including Business Insider.

Buttar led the Bill of Rights Defense Committee from 2009-2015, the grassroots advocacy efforts of the Electronic Frontier Foundation from 2015-2019, and the related advocacy efforts of Muslim Advocates from 2008-2009. He was arrested in the U.S. Senate in 2015 when posing a question about impunity for unconstitutional mass surveillance to then Director of National Intelligence James Clapper contrasting his continuing impunity for severe crimes against the public with the lethal “justice” that killed Eric Garner (and too many others) with neither a charge nor trial.

Buttar previously served on the Boards of Directors of non-profit organizations including the Washington Peace Center and Center for Media Justice, and continues to serve on the Boards of Defending Rights and Dissent, as well as the Fund for Constitutional Government.

Past commentary from Buttar can be found on his YouTube Channel or Twitter @shahidforchange. Media interested in interviews should email [email protected].

NOTE TO EDITORS: Buttar is the leading 2022 election challenger against Pelosi. He won the top-two primary alongside Pelosi for California’s 11th Congressional District in 2020, became the first Democrat to ever face Pelosi in a general election over the course of her 35-year career, and won over 81,000 votes, more than any other challenger since she took office in 1987.

An immigrant of Pakistani descent racked with student loan debt who has overcome housing insecurity in his teens, challenges funding his undergraduate education in his twenties, and a racist character assassination and media whiteout by San Francisco’s political establishment as candidate for Congress, Buttar represents the working people of San Francisco and the future, rather than the corporate lobbies that support Pelosi. He is a longtime grassroots organizer, policy advocate, and direct action activist in the Black Lives Matter, Occupy, anti-war, immigrants’ rights, and digital rights movements, as well as a former national non-profit leader. For interviews, contact [email protected].


Graphic: Shahid vs San Francisco Chronicle

Shahid Buttar Files Defamation Lawsuit Against San Francisco Chronicle, Whose Reckless Reporting Undermined A Federal Election

The First Amendment doesn’t give journalists a license to print known fabrications, then refuse to correct them.

Graphic: Shahid vs San Francisco Chronicle

SAN FRANCISCO — Shahid Buttar, a progressive activist, constitutional lawyer, and two-time candidate to represent California’s 12th congressional district, today filed a defamation lawsuit against the San Francisco Chronicle. The complaint charges the Chronicle with both reckless disregard for the truth and actual malice, for publishing known lies about Buttar manufactured by a serial accuser.

“The Constitution permits the press wide latitude to cover public figures,” said Buttar. “But it doesn’t allow the press to weaponize known fabrications. To print uncorroborated information — and then to refuse to run corrections even when confronted with conflicting evidence — is both reckless and malicious.”Read more


Pelosi Challenger Shahid Buttar Calls Out Systemic ‘Whiteout’ of His Voice at All Levels From Start of Campaign

Challenges with Ballot Statement Limited Him From Addressing Incumbent--Upholding Status Quo Systems That Filter Out Diversity

SAN FRANCISCO—As candidate statements are mailed out to San Francisco residents in the coming days, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s challenger Shahid Buttar’s blank ballot statement symbolizes the “whiteout” of his voice and the political systems rigged in favor of powerful Washington interests rather than the diverse constituents of San Francisco. He is releasing a statement online instead.

As a grassroots candidate running against an established Incumbent, Buttar experienced a ‘whiteout’ of his voice from the moment he entered the race—ranging from the Incumbent’s refusal to debate, suggestions from political consultants to whitewash his appearance and grooming, a lack of due process from local clubs following unfounded accusations, and either a denial of press coverage in some cases or downright misrepresentation and failure to correct knowingly false information in others.

“Our campaign has engaged thousands of supporters and voices from every part of the city and every state in the union,” said Buttar. “Yet, local and national journalists generally buried their heads in the sand, failing to even acknowledge our federal representative faces a challenge from a fellow Democrat in a general election for the first time in a generation. With the gravity of this election so inherent, voters need all the information possible to make informed choices.”

A search of press coverage shows Buttar received 0.07 percent of the share between him and Pelosi, conducted from a Muckrack search from September 11, 2019 to September 11, 2020. The coverage often failed to cover significant policy differences between the two candidates—notably Buttar’s commitment to Medicare for All and Green New Deal in the face of the pandemic. Instead, professional journalists have focused on distractions like Buttar’s activities to interact with voters in a pandemic and Pelosi’s trip to a hair salon.

The experience is indicative of why the majority of Congress is still white and few Muslims have been elected. According to Pew data on the 116th Congressional session, 78 percent of Congress is white.

While media were abuzz with Pelosi’s challenge in the House from diverse progressive candidates known as “The Squad,” none picked up that she is being challenged by a candidate in her home district who aligns with the very values of The Squad. An immigrant of Pakistani descent, Buttar is a Black Lives Matter, Occupy, anti-war, and immigrants’ rights activist and lawyer who graduated from Stanford Law School. Not owning a home or a car and in student loan debt, he is a true representative of most Americans right now, and he supports the same progressive policies aligned to her left.

“Pelosi‘s refusal to debate an opponent for over 30 years doesn’t just disrespect me and our campaign. It marginalizes voters, our city, and the democratic process.”

Buttar was also subjected to smear campaigns relying on stereotypes and racial tropes of Muslim men. Local press outlets—and political clubs reacting to them—rushed to judgement based on uncorroborated claims while ignoring evidence and witnesses, including women of color.

While the racism and implicit bias in our political system has been clear since the start of the country, it remains taboo to call it out. The past four years have inspired many people to stand against structural injustices in just about every industry, and people marginalized in every corner of society are speaking up. The same is now happening in politics from Washington to San Francisco. Representation is important in order for our policies to be intersectional and truly help all Americans.

“The systemic silencing of diverse voices skews our democracy, but I have faith in my neighbors across San Francisco to make intelligent choices, even if misinformed by corporate sources,” Buttar adds.

Buttar’s campaign released a toolkit recommending how concerned individuals can help promote more diverse voices and representation in his own race and others ranging from—volunteering for and donating to the campaigns of people of color with different backgrounds who align with your vision and ideals, reaching out to the press to demand better coverage of diverse candidates, and putting pressure on political organizations to organize a debate. The only way that We the People are going to gain our voice is to demand it.

For media interviews with Shahid Buttar or others who observed the process, please contact Patricia Brooks or [email protected] View Buttar’s full candidate statement here.

###

CONTACT: Patricia Brooks, [email protected]


Request for immediate retraction and correction of recklessly inaccurate piece by Akela Lacy published on July 23 and updated on August 17, 2020

TO:   The Intercept’s Editors

FROM: Shahid Buttar for Congress Campaign

DATE:  August 20, 2020

Request for immediate retraction and correction of recklessly inaccurate piece by Akela Lacy published on July 23 and updated on August 17, 2020

The Shahid Buttar for Congress campaign invites an immediate retraction and correction of the article entitled: Shahid Buttar’s Bid to Unseat Nancy Pelosi Roiled by Accusations of Staff Mistreatment (originally published on July 23 and updated on August 17) in response to numerous factual errors, ethical lapses, and the faulty premise of the entire story.

The reporting violated basic standards of journalistic ethics by failing to verify facts and contributing to—and spreading across The Intercept’s international audience—an organized campaign to promote a false narrative that was previously confined to irresponsible local press outlets. While we appreciate the recent updates to the story on August 17, they barely address the vast litany of errors pervading the article even as revised. Those inaccuracies reveal a reckless disregard for the truth, as outlined below, with profound consequences for our campaign, as well as the policy landscape.

While The Intercept’s story published on July 23 added no information to the public discussion beyond what local outlets had previously printed without verifying their facts, we did share further information with the Intercept that could have added to the public discussion but was mostly ignored, with the exception of statistical evidence misattributed to a volunteer that then subjected her to harassment by former campaign staff. Voices with viewpoints contrary to the prevailing narrative came forward, and several with direct experience contradicting the sources quoted by Ms. Lacy left messages for Ms. Lacy prior to the article’s publication—but every one of them was ignored, as was documentary evidence shared with The Intercept on approximately July 31 by the first of several volunteers who came forward to report on calls and texts they had received recruiting them to participate in what one of them described (in the text messages shared with The Intercept) as “a smear campaign.” Your editors preposterously dismissed them as irrelevant on August 4.

The revisions made to the story on August 17 dramatically change its narrative arc and do meaningfully add to the public discussion, but they are apparent neither to a casual reader, nor to any of your many readers who have read that story over the past month before the recent updates. The Intercept’s published editorial policies and procedures suggest that: “Significant corrections will be noted in the headline or at the top of the story.” While the headline was thankfully edited to remove the irresponsible reference in the original headline to an ultimately spurious allegation, the correction was noted neither in the headline nor at the top of the story.

We first invite a formal correction to the original story, or in the alternative, as provided in your policies, a note in the headline or at the top of the original story noting its substantial revision from the original publication. Given the irreparable damage done to our campaign by virtue of The Intercept’s amplification of the smear campaign, we further invite you to publish a new story reflecting greater fidelity to the facts.

The need to correct the record extends well beyond our campaign. Prior to the publication of the smears, our campaign was continuing to accelerate, gain momentum, and exercise increasing influence on the incumbent’s federal policy positions—apparent on issues from labor rights and congressional war powers to qualified immunity and supporting the Postal Service. As documented in (contrary to the narrative of) your original story, our campaign demonstrated remarkable acceleration in the months after the transition to a more skilled and experienced staff. Our fundraising efforts drew increasing support, our field team had dramatically expanded and accelerated, and the relentless expansion of our social media audience suggested that our ability to influence the Speaker would only grow. The week before the smear campaign was launched, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a front page story noting Speaker Pelosi’s continuing refusal to debate her election challenger even after 33 years of having declined to defend her record in public.

The publication of the smears had devastating impacts on our campaign: it ratified stories previously contained to local press, lending them the credibility of an internationally renowned investigative outlet that, in this case, failed to conduct any meaningful investigation. Our campaign lost the endorsements of Supervisor Dean Preston and School Board member Gabriela Lopez the same week, DSA-SF the following week, the SF Tenants Union the week after that, and Progressive Democrats of America-SF and the Harvey Milk Democratic Club (which local press have reported was swayed by the reports of misogyny irresponsibly validated by the Intercept) the following week. Alongside the loss of our local organizational endorsements was an equally challenging erosion of our volunteer base, driven by the alienation of supporters who believed the false construction promoted by The Intercept’s irresponsible publication of accusation without verifying facts, and even after establishing facts contrary to the contrived narrative. The momentum we had established on our field team and fundraising both stalled, and reversed for a period of weeks following the publication of these stories before recovering.

As the first Democrat to ever challenge Pelosi in a general election, the damage to Shahid’s name and our campaign is irreparable, but a story with greater concern for the facts could at least set the record straight.

The following is a list of errors in the piece that range from simple factual errors, to confusion about a complex narrative knowingly presented with inaccurate framing. [ed: Some names redacted for privacy]

  • The article’s inaccuracies start in the revised headline, which implies that at the time the articles, the campaign was stumbling amid staff departures driven by allegations of sexism and mistreatment of staff in the workplace. That is demonstrably false. Until these inaccurate hit pieces were published by outlets including The Intercept, the campaign was thriving. We contributed several numerical metrics which objectively indicated campaign success on all measures. Their implication was not stated in the article, which insisted that the campaign was set back by the departures of previous staff despite objective evidence to the contrary.
  • The July 23 article states Buttar’s campaign “has faced a period of personnel turmoil since the March 3 Democratic primary, with at least 10 staffers and contractors departing.” There were in fact only six full-time staffers who departed over the course of several months, and there was no personnel turmoil beyond the transition to new staff with greater experience. Included in the number cited by The Intercept were people whose work on the campaign was marginal, and the article dramatically mis-represented the impact of those transitions. It seems that each individual staff person who worked for the PR firm retained by the campaign was included and presented as if they were staff, as were contractors whose work amounted to a handful of hours a week. Meanwhile, volunteers who spent far more time on the campaign—in the sense of either joining the campaign earlier, staying with us longer, and putting in more time while they were with us, came forward to share their experiences at their own will and contradicting the former staff accounts—but the Intercept ignored those voices. No more than two full-time employees left the campaign at the same time. There was never a mass exodus of campaign staff as falsely described by the Intercept and former campaign staff.
  • Among numerous elements that were inaccurately conflated were Shahid’s response to the staff allegations made against him and performance metrics of the campaign. The article presented Shahid’s reaction to the staff concerns as blaming the staff for poor performance. That was never true. Shahid has always welcomed criticism and remained committed to building an inclusive workplace. The reflection on staff performance responded to the false claim that the departures in any way set the campaign back, and explained interactions (such as during the March 7 meeting, which is the only incident to which former staff have specified as) reflecting supposed misogyny.
  • In addition, the performance metrics were irresponsibly and unethically attributed to a communications volunteer who simply forwarded an email with information that Ms. Lacy requested. The source of this information was not the volunteer, but the campaign. The Intercept’s attribution of campaign metrics to the volunteer, who is a survivor of trauma, made her appear as if she was insulting former staff—which then led to the former staff bullying her (as well as other campaign volunteers who have stepped forward to correct the false narrative spread by The Intercept and other press outlets). The volunteer made clear to Ms. Lacy her individual perspective, and offered a quote on the record about how  every person who comes forward should be heard, and explaining why she chose to remain on the campaign as a survivor of sexual assault. Multiple requests for this quote to simply be attributed correctly went unanswered.
  • The sub-headline in the updated piece claims the allegations of staff mistreatment, which former staffers described to The Intercept, were the reason the San Francisco DSA chapter rescinded the organization’s endorsement of Shahid Buttar. That is demonstrably false. We offered numerous sources, including [a long term member of DSA SF familiar with the internal workings of the chapter]. [The member] confirmed that the initial resolution included multiple references to alleged sexual harassment and further insinuations that the final resolution removed. The Intercept itself quoted (and spread across its international audience) the most offensive part of the initial (and ultimately repudiated) resolution, alluding to “a pattern of abuse including but not limited to sexual [sic] inappropriate behavior with his staff and volunteers,” before the only sources for those allegations were all debunked. Put simply, the Intercept amplified a smear campaign that prompted local organizations to presume the validity of multiple accusations, each of which has remained demonstrably false from the outset.
  • The final DSA-SF resolution had nothing to do with sexual harassment, but the process unfolded under the widespread misimpression that it did, based on the Intercept’s erroneous & unethical publication of a document strategically leaked to reinforce the validity of the narrative contrived by the Intercept’s sources. In other words, the very same voices who claimed misogyny in the workplace also appear to have used the claims of Liz Croydon to launch a premature and contrived process in local clubs, and then leveraged those resolutions to gain further press coverage from the Intercept reinforcing an ultimately false narrative constructed through an organized campaign. The staff promoted a rumor involving [a volunteer] that became the basis for the portion of the DSA-SF resolution quoted by the Intercept, before [the volunteer] came forward anonymously to refute the false narrative actively promoted by former staff amplified uncritically & irresponsibly by the Intercept. All references to alleged harassment were removed from the final DSA-SF resolution because those claims were spurious, yet readers of the Intercept would never know. We urge you not to de-publish the original DSA-SF resolution, since your publication is the only public record of the original text indicating the collusion among former staff to weaponize DSA-SF to promote their smear campaign.
  • We understand that since DSA-SF has not made its final resolution document public, it may be challenging to cover the story—but the document you already saw, and the organization’s refusal to stand by it, suggest that the initial report failed to reflect the facts. The DSA resolution was leaked to the Intercept. Only you know who did that. Whoever leaked the resolution-in-process before it was corrected appears to have weaponized the Intercept in the service of spreading lies and innuendo.
  • The Intercept eventually revised its story on August 17 to establish that the allegations of sexual harassment referenced in the original story are dubious, but has yet to address the documentary evidence provided by [the aforementioned volunteer], who was one of multiple volunteers recruited (by sources quoted by the Intercept) to participate in what [the volunteer] described in writing as “a smear campaign.” She repudiated the narrative falsely promoted by the staff that informed the initial DSA-SF resolution quoted by the Intercept without any subsequent correction. She presented documentary evidence of correspondence with sources quoted by the Intercept who actively encouraged her to lie in order to support their claims.
  • We have noted that Shahid told former staff, particularly Raya Steier, about Liz Croydon’s previous history of false allegations towards Shahid, and public statements confirm that former staff reached out to her before she published a Medium post (which they appear to have helped write) on July 21 that appeared to have been submitted in an embargo (based on immediate coverage by local outlets including Mission Local, the Bay Area Reporter, and San Francisco Chronicle) coordinated with former staff and a previous PR firm, all of whom were quoted in articles published by local outlets including the Bay Area Reporter, Mission Local, and the San Francisco Chronicle immediately after the embargo lifted.
  • Shahid was asked to respond to an embargoed press release that he never saw within an hour, yet somehow Mission Local was able to collect interviews with numerous staff and a PR firm in that time. This suggests that this story emerged from a sophisticated attempt to conflate two false claims—one by Liz Croydon and the other by the staff—as corroboration of an ultimately narrative. The stories were presented in a coordinated fashion. That in itself is revealing, would add to the public discussion, and remains entirely unreported. The coordination between the former staff, Elizabeth Croydon, and DSA-San Francisco is a critical theme to the course of events that the Intercept ignored entirely. We urge you to consider who leaked to the (ultimately repudiated) DSA resolution to you and the specific timing of when it was sent, who distributed the embargoed press release to local reporters prior to their July 21 stories, and to explore how the stories and the resolution came to be in the first instance. The answer to those questions would reveal a very different picture than the one contrived by former staff with The Intercept’s support.
  • At least three sources came forward to verify that the claims included in the initial DSA-SF resolution were based on lies, given their previous interactions with former campaign staff while they were preparing their smear campaign. The Intercept’s omission of each of their voices represents a reckless disregard for the truth. Our sources were commenting specifically on the DSA-SF resolution that was the subject of your article, which was based on an incident that was debunked by documentary evidence: texts submitted by a volunteer who was contacted by former staff quoted by the Intercept proved that former staff were coordinating to fabricate this story. On August 4, Editor Maryam Saleh wrote, “The incident described in those texts was not the basis of our article, and neither was Elizabeth Croydon’s allegation. Rather, the focus of our reporting was the DSA resolution and the former staffers who spoke on the record about their experiences on the campaign.” This response, to put it charitably, is senseless: the DSA resolution was based on these claims, while the overlooked sources and evidence revealed that the former staff quoted by the Intercept were working together to promote something other than the truth. Former staff used a smoke and mirrors effort to assert allegations of sexual harassment against Shahid based on nothing that would verify their claims. Everything piece of supposed corroboration behind the allegations is coordinated, and fabricated, and each step was organized to lay the foundation for the next. We have offered multiple sources who can verify this. The Intercept’s coverage excluded every one of their voices, and allowed the international amplification of a set of allegations that DSA-SF itself repudiated, even while proceeding to rescind its endorsement of our campaign.
  • Former staff have publicly admitted their objective of forcing our campaign to end, based on their view that our campaign strategy was unsound. The self-fulfilling nature of their prophecy: the Intercept’s publication drove away many of our volunteers who had not been exposed to the spurious local press.
  • We have shared text evidence proving that the former staff were using a volunteer’s name in presenting an untrue story to put forth a smear campaign. In our request for a correction, I am re-sending texts by Patrick Cochran, a source quoted in Ms. Lacy’s article, that indicate he and Emily Jones (also quoted as a primary source) were actively reaching out to former volunteers, donors, and current staff to arrange what one of those volunteers described in the text messages as “a smear campaign.” Not only has the Intercept failed to report on this very revealing evidence, but the fact of a white man suggesting a narrative to a white woman about an alleged sexual impropriety by a man of color—which the supposed “victim” repudiated—reflects a pattern of racialized accusation with an unfortunate and inescapably relevant history.
  • Shahid’s former staff were aware that Liz Croydon made false allegations about him in the past. Former staff, namely Raya Steier, reached out to this accuser on Twitter in mid-July and later coordinated an embargoed media statement on July 21. These former staff members claimed to be DSA-SF members, but most of them were new to the group and among their first actions was to falsely accuse Shahid of sexual harassment.
  • Errors by journalists also created a problem with the claim regarding non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). The Intercept quoted an inaccurate Mission Local report that a number of former staffers said they had signed non-disparagement agreements and that Buttar denied the existence of the agreements. This goes back to the inability to have enough time to check with our lawyers ahead of the urgent deadlines of the two pieces. Shahid’s former staff have cited the existence of non-disclosure agreements as a reason to avoid giving any details to support their ultimately false claims. Nondisclosure agreements are standard mechanisms to protect the privacy of our supporters’ personal data, like emails and phone numbers. Many staff and volunteers with access to sensitive data sign them.In contrast, we have no active non-disparagement agreements with anyone on the former staff. Only one of them, [a former staff member who became a consultant], was invited to sign one as part of a consulting arrangement with the campaign. That agreement was nearly immediately terminated, however, after they reached out to donors to encourage them not to support the campaign—not based on any alleged misogyny, but (as former staff have also noted) because they did not understand the campaign strategy and lacked confidence in it. Since they violated the agreement in early June, the agreement was voided, and she has not been bound by it. We have screenshots of this outreach.That history suggests that the former staff were actively trying to damage Shahid’s campaign immediately after leaving the staff, well before coming forward with more recent claims of misogyny that they never expressed at the time (as verified by multiple members of the current staff with whom they spoke at the time, who have in turn spoken on the record). The Intercept’s confusion about the difference between non-disparagement and non-disclosure lent itself to an appearance that our statement was inaccurate in addressing this claim, which it was not.

    Neither our staff employment agreements nor our volunteer agreements contain a non-disparagement clause. Only our agreements with contractors have that clause, which is why only [the aforementioned staff member/consultant] was ever a party to such an agreement (before immediately violating it). [The former staff member] continues to falsely claim that our campaign is trying to silence people, both by mischaracterizing the distinctions among these agreements, and also by mounting accusations towards current staff, mischaracterizing on Twitter benign routine campaign emails offering guidance to current staff on how to respond to potential press inquiries.
  • The Intercept’s July 23 article presents only sources who had negative claims about Shahid’s management style. It conspicuously omits every one of the voices who eagerly came forward to share opposing views, including reflections from many supporters on the primary campaign staff poised to validate and help explain the decision to hire a new team for the general election.
  • We offered numerous sources—including tweets from some former staff quoted by The Intercept—that indicate they never perceived or discussed Shahid’s behavior as gendered until after they stumbled across Liz Croydon. This suggests that there was an effort by a small number of former staff to engage others in group think and promote an impression of events different than first perceived.We also offered two current staff members to speak with you, both women who were recently encouraged to join the campaign by former staff quoted by the Intercept, who never suggested any experience with misogyny or harassment despite frank private conversations that did emphasize the former staff’s adamant strategic differences with the candidate. The women currently involved in the campaign, many of whom are survivors, did their homework about the candidate before joining—and never did any claims of misogyny or harassment come up, nor have they encountered any of the behavior claimed by former staff.Ms. Lacy interviewed a small group of disgruntled former staff members from the campaign, took their words at face value, declined to include contrary reflections from interviews conducted with other current or former staff, as well as multiple volunteers who were offered, who have given a contrary picture, and who have bullied (in at least one instance, into public silence) by former staff quoted by the Intercept. We have given names of several who would speak on the record.

    Patricia Brooks and Gloria Berry, both survivors, have been outspoken and eager to come forward on the record in regard to this topic. Others, including a gender non-confirming volunteer who worked more closely on the campaign than most of the sources quoted by the Intercept, have affirmatively rejected the claims of former staff and ratified Shahid’s characterization of their frustrations as rooted in strategic differences and recurring staff performance failures, rather than misogyny.

  • An apology letter that Shahid sent to the staff to address tensions that he saw emerge was weaponized against him, used to support the allegation that his behavior was gender-based. If anything, the email demonstrates that he is not the character contrived by the former staff. The mischaracterization of that email exchange is yet another example of how the Intercept wove together many exaggerated elements to illustrate an ultimately false narrative.
  • The Intercept failed to check facts erroneously reported in earlier stories previous to Ms. Lacy’s article. Mission Local published an article on July 21 stating that “Cochran recalls his female colleagues needing to gather ‘three or four men’ to have their ideas taken seriously by the candidate,” which is obviously false both since we didn’t have that many men on the campaign team at the time, and because Patrick wasn’t in senior meetings reflecting tension with [a former senior staff member] & Emily.
  • This story is not about staff coming together to independently corroborate each other’s stories. This story was placed in a coordinated, organized, sophisticated fashion by professional campaign operatives with a demonstrable interest in the result. While we can’t document any involvement of the institutional establishment in organizing the smear campaign, at least one possible interest of professional staff in building a false narrative is clear: currying favor with local “progressive” establishment figures who align themselves with Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Party.
  • The narrative contrived by former staff with The Intercept’s support suggests that former staff were aggrieved employees organizing to challenge an oppressive boss making a high salary, when the reality was in fact quite different. The candidate is an immigrant grassroots candidate, who owns no property of any kind  and remains saddled with student loan debt from law school,  running outside the city’s progressive establishment, which remains largely beholden to the incumbent, and from which the former campaign staff were recruited. Their interest in constructing a false narrative to defend the existing progressive power structure in San Francisco—and its continuing deference to Speaker Pelosi—is fairly obvious, yet uncritically ignored by the Intercept, whose original article effectively settles for stenography.
  • As to the salary claims, Shahid earns the equivalent of his non-profit salary when he left his job at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It places him at the 55th local percentile (barely above the local median), and reflects a ratio of less than 2:1 between the highest and least compensated full-time employees. Campaign staff have agreed in subsequent public interviews that they were generously compensated while working on the campaign.
  • The original story does not reference even a single incident beyond the March 7 meeting, only quotes about an alleged pattern lacking any specificity—precisely because the claims are based not in fact, but on an organized campaign to spread a false narrative, as confirmed by multiple people who have come forward after former staff attempted to recruit them. The importance of checking facts is basic journalism, and the failure to do so here led to an unethical and irresponsible result.
  • Members of his former PR firm quoted by the Intercept were at the March meeting described in the Intercept, and particularly demonstrate Shahid’s point about the campaign’s performance objectively accelerating since the departure of former staff & contractors. Since he has been working with new PR consultant, a female volunteer with more experience including with the Bernie Sanders movement, the campaign has gotten vastly more expensive and better coverage. The article notes that the former PR firm dropped Buttar’s campaign, but the contract ended, and the campaign demonstrably benefited from the transition back to volunteers. It is worth noting that these claims started coming forward just after Buttar received national press coverage from a Black Lives Matter event where the idea of policing candidates of color on clothing and style was raised by other candidates running for office, including Cori Bush and Isiah James. Additionally, Buttar had just received coverage on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle when the allegations started to emerge. The volunteer can speak to how her input is always taken as a female working on the campaign.
  • Finally, and most alarming, is the unfortunate role of race apparent in the press coverage to date. First, contrast the experiences of Tara Reade and Liz Croydon. Ms. Reade came forward with various points of corroboration indicating sexual assault by a white man with substantial institutional power, and it took her months for the press to air her concerns. Liz Croydon alleged behavior that would not have constituted a crime of any kind even if true—which it was not—and was immediately presumed to be credible by multiple press outlets largely because the target of her accusation was both a brown man and a Muslim. The racial and religious tropes about misogyny among Muslim men played an inescapable role in this narrative being uncritically accepted and then irresponsibly amplified by The Intercept.
  • Beyond the institutional racism implicit in presumed guilt (by the press, and the local clubs), is a further reflection of 1.0 racism implicit in the texts with Patrick spreading the rumors concocted by Emily. There is nothing feminist about a white man encouraging a white woman to lie about an interaction with a brown man. The effort to convince her that something inappropriate happened is itself a revealing indication of falsity that any serious commitment to the truth requires observing.
  • Finally, most disappointing may be the institutional racism of press outlets—including the Intercept—ignoring the important voice of Gloria Berry. Gloria is an Afro-Latina grandmother, Navy veteran, and elected member of the Democratic County  Central Committee, and has publicly noted on several occasions that she was approached by former staff and encouraged to participate in their effort. There is no voice in the city with greater legitimacy to speak on behalf of the grassroots movement that she & Shahid both represent, yet the press has refused to share her voice. She declined to participate in the campaign organized by former staff, and then observed inconsistencies between the stories told by former staff during the time they were coordinating with Liz Croydon and the account that she eventually published. Finally, she observe the campaign staff’s performance failures as a volunteer supporting the campaign, and is poised to address the root of the concerns described by the former staff in gendered terms. These inconsistencies, as well as her first-hand perspective, are critically relevant to the truth—but even though she left a voicemail for Akela Lacy on July 22, she wasn’t interviewed until many weeks later, and her voice was never included, quoted, or even referenced in the revised story. Her voices was claimed irrelevant. She was also among the many voices of campaign supporters bullied by former staff, but her (and their) voices remain overlooked.

We hope you urgently correct the piece that has run. The Intercept’s article played a critical role in spreading a demonstrably false narrative about Shahid aimed to undermine his historic candidacy, and continues to reflect a host of inaccuracies. Please let us know if there is any information that we can provide.


The Gig Economy in the Age of COVID-19 - Shahid Buttar Livestream with Veena Dubal on April 22, 5pm PT

SAN FRANCISCO, April 22, 2019 — Shahid for Change, the campaign to elect Shahid Buttar, a Pakistani-American constitutional lawyer challenging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her seat in California’s 12th Congressional District, will host a livestream with Veena Dubal, an Associate Professor of Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and an expert on the gig economy. The live stream will start at 5pm PST today on the campaign website.

According to a report this week from the San Francisco Labor Agency Formation Commission, 43% of gig workers said the major platform company they work for was doing nothing to adequately protect them and 81% report that their primary platform company is not requiring customers to report that they are sick before they accept the job. As tens of thousands of gig workers across the state of California apply to the State of California only to find the State is telling them they will have to wait for Federal dollars because Uber, Lyft et al. haven’t paid into the State Unemployment Insurance Fund, we will discuss what options gig workers have.

The conversation also takes place at a time when Uber and Lyft are spending tens of millions of dollars on a ballot initiative later this year to exempt themselves from AB5, the law that went into effect on January 1 categorizing gig workers as employees.

This conversation will provide critical analysis on what moves lawmakers and advocates should be making to support gig workers in these difficult times. We will hear from the foremost academic on the topic of gig workers and how companies are using their extensive legal and lobbying teams to ensure that workers don’t have the basic benefits afforded to them by the law.

COVID-19 forced politicians around the country to change tactics rapidly. Shahid’s campaign is doing this in creative ways, and the campaign’s already strong web presence puts it in a strong position to continue to grow the base as the lockdown in San Francisco continues into May. The campaign raised over $300,000 in Q1, putting it in a strong position to continue the challenge Nancy in November and continue to grow the progressive movement in San Francisco. Moreover, in recent weeks the campaign has received endorsements from respected local community leaders including Cat Brooks, news anchor at KPFA and Trevor Timm, Executive Director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation.


Democratic Party Announces Pre-Endorsement Conference Results Despite Election Irregularities

Pre-Endorsement Conference Ballot Skews Vote for the Incumbent by Failing to Include Accurate Name of Immigrant Candidate Advancing San Francisco’s Values

SAN FRANCISCO, 10.22.2019 — Last week, the California Democratic Party (“CDP”) announced its preliminary endorsements, falsely insinuating that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is supported by a consensus among local party delegates. While Pelosi was reportedly favored by a majority of participants in the pre-endorsement conference, the ballot was inaccurate and failed to include the name of Pelosi’s leading challenger, Shahid Buttar.

Hene Kelly, the state party’s Director for Region 6, administered the election and promised to fix an error noted by a Buttar campaign supporter. She failed to do so, and then offered comments in the press indicating her support for Pelosi. The combination of the party’s marginalization of an immigrant challenger, failure to correct a documented error, and the election administrator’s subsequent statements in the press, suggest a bias that undermines the legitimacy of the process.

Speaking to the Globe Post, Kelly was quoted as saying, “Nancy Pelosi...has been the real thing for quite a while….I’ve been with her for a long time.” (emphasis added)

“It’s one thing to make an innocent mistake with no consequence, but that doesn’t appear to be what happened here,” said Pelosi’s 2020 challenger, Shahid Buttar. “Misspelling a candidate’s name impacts the integrity of any election. Here, Ms. Kelly failed to fix the error despite notice, and then spoke out in the press about her support for the incumbent. That reeks of an unfortunate bias that undermines the legitimacy of the pre-endorsement conference results. We look forward to winning a free and fair election administered by the state rather than Pelosi’s supporters.”

Jasper Wilde, campaign manager, said “The history of institutions misspelling the names of immigrants, in particular, is a long and ugly reflection of institutional racism. As the strongest primary challenger that Pelosi has ever confronted, the state party may try to minimize Shahid Buttar, but the voters will know his name.”

The party’s announcement of a consensus favoring Pelosi corresponds to Mayor London Breed’s controversial decision to appoint career prosecutor Suzy Loftus to fill the vacancy left by former District Attorney George Gascon. Rather than allow the first race for an open seat in over a century, the Mayor leaned on the scale late in the election cycle, allowing her preference to undermine the chance for voters to express theirs.

Similarly, Ms. Kelly’s failure to correct the ballot error may appear innocuous in the abstract, but appears distinctly less so when viewed in context. Mayor Breed’s appointment of Loftus ultimately aimed to defend an establishment threatened by the candidacy of reformer Chesa Boudin. Kelly’s comments in the press supporting Speaker Pelosi suggest that the error marginalizing Pelosi’s leading challenger may have been an intentional response to Buttar’s campaign—representing the progressive future of the party in a challenge to its corporate past—gaining support among delegates.

A detailed description and outline of Shahid Buttar’s platform, as well as his background, can be found here.

About Shahid Buttar

Shahid Buttar has been building social movements and speaking truth to power for almost two decades. Since graduating from Stanford Law School in 2003, he has worked in both San Francisco and Washington as a legal advocate, a non-profit leader, a grassroots organizer, and a poet & musician. His passions have long aligned around a common purpose: building the movement to place human rights and human needs like peace and sustainability before corporate profits.

An early advocate for marriage equality for same-sex couples and a prolific organizer in the movement to end warrantless government surveillance, Shahid most recently built a national grassroots network for the Electronic Frontier Foundation as the organization’s Director of Grassroots Advocacy. He also challenged Nancy Pelosi for her seat in 2018, when he won more votes than any other challenger from the left in 10 years.

His writing has appeared in TechCrunch, Truthout, the Huffington Post, EFF’s Deeplinks blog, Project Censored, and various legal academic journals, and he has been quoted as an authority by outlets including the New York Times, CNN, the Nation, al-Jazeera, WIRED, the Washington Post, Mother Jones, Democracy Now!, the Intercept, and the Guardian US.

Interested parties can find out more at www.shahidforchange.us, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, at @ShahidForChange.

 


Progressive Challenger Shahid Buttar Announces Record-Breaking Support in Campaign to Unseat Speaker Pelosi

Shahid for Change raised over $224,000 in its first two quarters, surpassing all progressive Pelosi challengers over the last three decades at this stage

SAN FRANCISCO, October 3, 2019 —Shahid for Change, the campaign to elect Shahid Buttar, a Pakistani-American constitutional lawyer challenging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her seat in California’s 12th Congressional District, today announced it has raised over $224,000 through the FEC’s Q3 deadline since launching in April 2019. The haul suggests that Buttar is mounting a more robust challenge than any that Pelosi has ever confronted.

In the 3rd quarter alone, the campaign brought in more than $150,000. To date, the campaign has received over 8,400 donations from over 5,750 grassroots donors from across the country. 99% of all contributions came from small donors (those who gave $200 or less), and the most common profession of campaign donors is tech workers. The campaign’s average contribution is $22.61.

“As an immigrant, I’ve been proud to dedicate my life and career to defending our nation’s stated values—especially in the face of rising fascism. I feel deeply grateful for the support of thousands of my neighbors and fellow Americans from coast to coast, and I’m eager to do the job in Congress that Pelosi has been so reluctant to do.” said Buttar. “We built this campaign by demonstrating solidarity with labor, and social movements defending and advancing human rights, climate justice, and universal healthcare. We’re just getting started.”

The campaign’s record-breaking haul, and remarkable number of grassroots donors, reflect its growing strength among San Franciscans, the ascendant progressive movement, and working-class Americans all over the country.

“At a time when income inequality is growing exponentially in San Francisco and across the country, it is incredibly telling that struggling people prioritize making small-dollar contributions to our campaign,” said campaign manager Jasper Wilde. “ The reason is clear: people know that our representatives are to blame for their daily suffering under late-capitalism. They are yearning for an alternative, and that’s why they are funding this campaign.”.

Notably, Pelosi’s highest-profile progressive challenger to date, Cindy Sheehan, raised $119,570 in her first two quarters during the 2008 cycle. Even after adjusting for inflation, it sits well below Buttar’s $224,000 haul. In comparison, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez brought in $38,958 during the first two quarters of her 2018 campaign.

A detailed description and outline of Shahid Buttar’s platform, as well as his background, can be found here.

About Shahid Buttar

Shahid Buttar has been building social movements and speaking truth to power for almost two decades. Since graduating from Stanford Law School in 2003, he has worked in both San Francisco and Washington as a constitutional lawyer, a non-profit leader, a grassroots organizer, a poet and musician. His passions have long aligned around a common purpose: building the movement to place human rights and human needs like peace and sustainability before corporate profits.

An early advocate for marriage equality for same-sex couples and a prolific organizer in the movement to end warrantless government surveillance, Shahid most recently built a national grassroots network for the Electronic Frontier Foundation as the organization’s Director of Grassroots Advocacy. He also challenged Nancy Pelosi for her seat in 2018, winning more progressive votes almost any other candidate in 10 years.

His writing has appeared in TechCrunch, Truthout, the Huffington Post, EFF’s Deeplinks blog, Project Censored, and various legal academic journals, and he has been quoted as an authority by outlets including the New York Times, CNN, the Nation, al-Jazeera, WIRED, the Washington Post, Mother Jones, Democracy Now!, the Intercept, and the Guardian US.

Interested parties can find out more at www.shahidforchange.us, or follow us on Twitter @ShahidforChange, Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit at r/ShahidButtar.


Progressive Challenger Shahid Buttar Secures Important Endorsements for 2020 Campaign Against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

People for Bernie Sanders and Matt Gonzalez both Endorse Shahid for Change’s Campaign Seeking Medicare-for-All, the Green New Deal, Economic Justice, and Real Resistance to Trump 

SAN FRANCISCO, September 23, 2019 — The campaign to elect Shahid Buttar, a Pakistani-American constitutional lawyer challenging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her seat representing California’s 12th congressional district in 2020, today announced two important endorsements. The People for Bernie, a national grassroots organization dedicated to progressive principles, endorsed the campaign this morning. Matt Gonzalez,  former president for San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors and current Chief Trial Attorney for the city’s Public Defender’s office, also endorsed Buttar’s congressional candidacy for 2020.

“Shahid is the future we want. The depth at which he understands and fights for restorative justice is how we see our movement best represented,” said Kat Brezler, People for Bernie Sander’s co-founder. “Our position on Medicare for All and the Fight for 15 are nearly mainstream analysis now, but it’s the way Shahid sees the world as it should be not merely how it is that makes him a powerful ally and a pleasure to endorse.”

“With her recent attacks against newly elected progressive Democrats - all women of color -and her support of funding for Trump's expanded ICE raids, Nancy Pelosi continues to show how out of touch she is with San Francisco. Congressman Shahid Buttar would immediately join forces with new Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who want to stop the ‘appeasement of Trump’ culture in Washington and forge a new egalitarian and humanistic direction for our country,” said Matt Gonzalez.

Buttar is challenging Speaker Pelosi’s refusal to address crucial issues facing the United States, including the increasingly dire climate crisis; our broken and barbaric for-profit healthcare system; mounting wealth & income inequality; and our failed and racist criminal “justice” system. Buttar advocates for clear solutions supported by a super majority of Americans across political parties, which must be addressed by new voices in Congress.

“We are thrilled and humbled to receive these two endorsements,” said Buttar. “They reflect a growing recognition—both in San Francisco and across the country—that our current representative has failed to hold this criminal administration accountable and has enabled its worst abuses, while simultaneously failing to address the most important problems facing the country and this district. I’m eager to do the job of finally addressing these problems head on including Medicare-for-All, a Green New Deal, as well as San Francisco’s unprecedented housing crisis.”

A detailed description and outline of Shahid Buttar’s platform, as well as his background, can be found here.

Shahid wields substantial experience on issues including civil rights, civil liberties, campaign finance reform, tech policy, and foreign policy, in addition to constitutional law, antitrust law, and judicial nominations. He also has an extensive background in grassroots organizing and non-profit management, reflected in his work at the Electronic Frontier Foundation as Director of Grassroots Advocacy, and at the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (now Defending Rights and Dissent), which he led for six years as the organization’s Executive Director. He also serves on the Boards of Directors of the Center for Media Justice, the Fund for Constitutional Government, and Defending Rights and Dissent.

45 years old, Shahid has lived in the Bay Area and Washington, DC since 2000. He graduated from Stanford Law School in 2003, where he served as Executive Editor of the Stanford Environmental Law Journal and a teaching assistant for Constitutional Law. His writing has appeared in TechCrunch, Truthout, the Huffington Post, EFF’s Deeplinks blog, Project Censored, The Globe Post and various legal academic journals, and he has been quoted as an authority by outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, The Nation, Al-Jazeera, Wired, Democracy Now!, The Intercept, and The Guardian US.