Michael Weinstein and his AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the organization bankrolling a statewide radical rent control initiative, have been accused of violating multiple political finance laws while campaigning to defeat a major housing-production bill.
Earlier today, California YIMBY, which stands for Yes In My Backyard, filed a formal complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Committee. The complaint alleges that Weinstein ignored well-established state reporting requirements in spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to oppose SB 50 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.
The legislation, which died last month on the Senate floor, would have allowed for expedited housing construction, including mid-rise apartment buildings, near existing job centers and public transportation.
In the complaint, California YIMBY alleges that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, of which Weinstein is president, failed to report its spending for radio and social media advertisements, direct mail pieces, a website, and other activities attacking SB 50.
“The AIDS Healthcare Foundation spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in pursuit of Weinstein’s crusade against affordable housing,” Brian Hanlon, CEO of California YIMBY, said in a news release. “As a deep-pocketed and sophisticated political player in California, and a registered lobbyist employer under California law, AHF is aware of the requirements of California’s Political Reform Act — and they nonetheless failed to report these expenses.”
Weinstein’s AIDS Healthcare Foundation is also bankrolling a statewide ballot initiative, nicknamed Prop 10 2.0, that would repeal significant portions of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and welcome back the extreme forms of rent control that proliferated in California in the 1970s.
The initiative, which recently qualified for November’s ballot, is a revised version of Proposition 10, Weinstein’s 2018 strict rent control initiative. That measure failed miserably at the polls despite tens of millions of dollars in campaign spending by Weinstein’s AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
Opposition to the measure is already mounting. Earlier this month, the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California promised to fight Prop 10 2.0, saying it “would block the path towards future investment in the construction of affordable housing units for the working class.”
The State Building Trades will work closely with Californians for Responsible Housing, the campaign committee created by the California Apartment Association to defeat Weinstein’s measure in November.