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Airbnb just spent over $200,000 on San Francisco politics

Proposition F was hardly the end.

The Verge

Last fall in San Francisco, Airbnb resoundingly defeated Proposition F at the ballot box, killing a measure that would have imposed harsher restrictions on the short-term home rental service. But an Airbnb ally lost a critical city Board of Supervisors race, which means that Airbnb currently faces a tougher fight in City Hall.

So it makes sense that Airbnb is now dropping $230,000 in campaign contributions to measures supported by San Francisco politicians it wants to win over. Filings with the San Francisco Ethics Commission show that the Airbnb-backed Committee to Expand the Middle Class has put money behind a variety of ballot initiatives and politicians for the June 2016 ballot:

  • $100,000 supporting Mayor Ed Lee’s Proposition A, which requires the city to issue a $350 million bond to fund “[improved] health care, emergency response and safety, and homeless facilities.”
  • $100,000 behind Proposition B, which would require $3 million a year from the city’s general fund to be set aside for municipal parks and recreation. The ballot measure is supported by City Supervisor Mark Farrell.
  • $10,000 for police accountability initiative Proposition D, which is backed by City Supervisor Malia Cohen.
  • $20,000 for the Democratic County Central Committee. $2,500 increments were doled out specifically to support DCCC members Rebecca Prozan (who is also a Google policy staffer), Alix Rosenthal, Zoe Dunning, Kat Anderson, Francis Tsang and Leah Pimental. $5,000 was given to back DCCC member Mary Jung.

What could have prompted the recent flurry of donor activity, all of which happened in the last week? Two city supervisors recently proposed new legislation that would more tightly regulate vacation rentals (like Airbnb) in the city.

The campaign contributions were first reported by 48 Hills. When reached for comment, representatives for Airbnb gave the following statement: “This is one part of our growing effort to stand with those who fight for the middle class in San Francisco.”

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