California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced this week that he will not accept any contributions from law enforcement for his 2022 campaign.
What he said: Bonta, who is running to keep his position as attorney general in the state, during an interview on KPFA’s morning drive-time show “Upfront.”
“I have made a personal decision not to accept any law enforcement contributions,” Bonta said in response to a question from a Twitter user.
The attorney general explained that he had returned donations from law enforcement “going back multiple years” and argued that the criminal justice system “is in fundamental need of reform.” Bonta explained that he thinks “the vast majority of law enforcement” wants to rebuild the “missing trust” from the community.
“On the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, it’s a time for reflection and assessment of where we are, and where we’re going,” Bonta said. “It’s time to reconnect to addressing the structural and systemic racism that we know infects so many parts of our systems, including our criminal justice system.”
Why it matters? According to the co-host of the “Upfront” show, this is the first time that a California attorney general has made such a proclamation.
Meanwhile, The Mercury News reports that “Bonta has been a favorite of law enforcement groups.” The outlet says that they have donated around $190,000 to his campaign when he ran for a seat in the California Assembly.
According to the report, he refuses to receive donations from police and prison guard unions while serving as attorney general and last year in October gave $14,625 that law enforcement contributed to his campaign to an initiative that aimed to nix cash bail.
Background: Bonta was sworn in as California’s state attorney last month. He was picked for the position by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) after his predecessor Xavier Beccera left the post to join President Joe Biden’s cabinet as Health and Human Services secretary. Until then, he served in the state Assembly where, among other things, voted in favor of establishing a commission to investigate police shootings of unarmed suspects.
He filed papers to keep his job as state attorney shortly after Newsom informed him that he would be in charge of the Department of Justice in California.
“Yes, I am running for election,” he said at the time. “I’m running in 2022. I intend to stay in the seat, to run a robust campaign and to continue to be able to work and fight for the people of California.”
Worth noting: Last year, Bonta introduced legislation that sought to ban the D.A.’s office from handling police misconduct probes if they accepted donations from police unions.
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