New York Justice & Public Safety PAC is a left-of-center PAC that was created in 2019 to fund the campaigns of progressive Democratic candidates for district attorney in several districts in the state of New York. The organization is the New York branch of the vast “Safety and Justice” network, a project of left-leaning billionaire George Soros that used a network of similarly named state-level PACs to finance the campaigns of progressive Democratic candidates for district attorney in more than a dozen of America’s cities.
New York Justice & Public Safety receives 100 percent of its funding from George Soros. New York campaign finance disclosures reveal that the organization received roughly $1.3 million in contributions from Soros in 2019.
New York Justice & Public Safety’s campaign finance disclosures reveal that its primary activity during 2019 was paying left-leaning campaign communications firm Berlin Rosen for advertising that supported the campaigns of Shani Mitchell for Monroe County District Attorney, Tiffany Cabán for Queen’s County District Attorney, and David Clegg for Ulster County District Attorney. The organization reported paying Berlin Rosen a total of $1.1 million for these advertisements.
Campaign Finance Violation
In October 2019, the Monroe County Republican Committee filed an official complaint with the New York state Board of Elections that alleged New York Justice & Public Safety had illegally coordinated with the campaign of Shani Mitchell for Monroe County District Attorney. In a press conference, Monroe County GOP officials revealed screenshots of Mitchell campaign manager Rynn Reed’s LinkedIn profile which showed that immediately before joining the campaign Reed had worked as a public relations intern at Berlin Rosen. Under New York law a person cannot work for a candidate’s campaign within two years of being employed by an independent expenditure committee or any agent of that committee. During the 2019 election New York Justice & Public Safety paid Berlin Rosen roughly $1.1 for advertising that supported Mitchell and other candidates. Monroe County Republicans argued that Reeds work for Berlin Rosen was proof that New York Justice & Public Safety had coordinated with Mitchell’s campaign while funding advertising on her behalf, which independent expenditure PACs are not allowed to do. Spectrum News reported that, after the complaint was filed, Reed removed her experience at Berlin Rosen from her Linkedin profile.
Mailer Featuring Convicted Felon
The very same month, New York Justice & Public Safety found itself at the center of a second controversy over a mailer that it distributed in support of David Clegg’s campaign. The mailer prominently featured a picture of Clegg shaking hands with a man named Ismail Shabazz, who served two years in prison for one count of attempted criminal sale of a weapon in 2016 after being caught selling undercover FBI agents handguns, sawed-off shotguns, and assault rifles. Shabazz was also recorded several times stating that he wanted to harm police officers and expressing the hope that the weapons he sold would be used against police officers, leading one police union official to describe Shabazz as “A community activist, such as he was, in truly the worst sense”. In response to the mailer, local police chiefs officially announced their opposition to Clegg’s candidacy.
Another candidate backed by New York Justice & Public Safety, Tiffany Cabán, also became the center of controversy for her decision to appear on the Chapo Trap House podcast, which is known for its support for socialism, extremism, and virulent rhetoric. Cabán has also been criticized for her radically left-wing agenda that included decriminalizing prostitution.