On December 10th, a formal complaint was filed with the Attorney General’s office against BART Director Robert Raburn for his misuse of public funds for his re-election campaign. Last Thursday, BART workers who were participating in a peaceful protest against the Director Raburn were appalled to learn that he was using BART police officers as private security for his re-election campaign fundraiser at Warehouse 416 in Oakland.
BART police officers serving as security guards at Director Raburn’s personal fundraising event revealed to protesters that they were “on orders” to be at the event.
The complaint charges that Director Raburn is in violation of California Penal Code section 424, which prohibits state and local officers charged with the oversight or disbursement of public funds from using such funds for any purpose not authorized by law. The law prohibits public funds from being used for campaign purposes.
The complaint also requested an investigation from the Attorney General as to whether Director Raburn violated Government Code section 8314, which prohibits state and local elected officers, such as BART directors, from using or permitting others to use public resources for campaign activity. Public resources include any state-compensated time and campaign activities include anything considered a contribution or independent expenditure under state campaign finance law.
Police logs for December 5th also revealed that, while BART police were providing private security to Director Raburn at his campaign fundraising event, a crime was being committed against a rider at a nearby station. A rider reported that a phone was grabbed and stolen from her as she was sitting in a San Francisco-bound train.
“We’ve repeatedly requested greater security for the riders and the workers, particularly in areas with a lot of crime.” said Saul Almanza, a BART worker who was present at the protest. “It’s frustrating to see that Director Raburn would rather use BART police as his private security detail, than prioritize the safety of the riders or the workers who keep BART running.