Soros-Backed District Attorney Hires Boyfriend for Six-Figure Position

Pamela Price failed to disclose relationship with controversial senior staffer, prompting charges of nepotism

Pamela Price (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
August 15, 2023

A George Soros-backed district attorney facing potential recall in California gave her boyfriend a six-figure, taxpayer-funded position in her office.

Alameda County district attorney Pamela Price, who took $130,000 from Soros for her failed 2018 bid, secured the position for her boyfriend Antwon Cloird, the San Jose Mercury News reported Sunday. Cloird joined Price's office as a "senior program specialist" in 2023, with a $115,502 per year salary. Price brought him onto her team without disclosing their relationship, although it is an "open secret" in the office, according to the report.

Since becoming district attorney in 2022, Price has presided over a massive crime surge in Oakland, the county's largest city. She has vowed to overhaul the criminal justice system, angering voters in the process. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Oakland last year had a higher violent crime rate than eight comparable cities. As district attorney, Price made eligible for parole gang members who killed a toddler in a freeway gun battle, slashed a triple murderer's sentence, and gave just seven years to a teen linked to three killings.

Price's decision to hire Cloird appears to have violated the state of California's employment nepotism policies, said Will Swaim, the president of the California Policy Center. The state defines nepotism as "an employee's use of influence or power to hire, transfer, or promote an applicant or employee because of a personal relationship," and decrees that local offices ban anyone with a personal relationship with applicants from participating in the hiring process.

"In a county overrun by criminals … it's not entirely surprising that the DA herself appears to be flouting the law," Swaim said.

In addition to cries of nepotism, Cloird's past record has been called into question.

Before supporting Price's political career, Cloird was an activist in Richmond, Calif., where top city officials learned he sought $5,000 and $20,000 from two different businesses. In exchange, he would "facilitate" and "expedite" permits.

According to emails obtained by the Mercury News, Cloird in 2015 allegedly told a local meat packer that he could "expedite" permits that the company needed in exchange for $5,000. Meanwhile, in the same year, he allegedly asked a restaurateur for $20,000 to help secure a liquor license for a new location—a fee that one city official said the restaurateur felt he had to pay because "otherwise [Cloird] will bring a bunch of people to speak against it."

The FBI started a probe into Cloird's "pay to play" arrangements, although the agency ultimately did not charge him.

A pot dispensary in 2016 sued Cloird and three other cannabis businesses for conspiring to keep the dispensary out of Richmond. Cloird was accused of trying to shake down the plaintiff dispensary's attorney and trying to bribe local city council members to oppose the new business. Cloird was ultimately able to get his name dropped as a defendant.

"Antwon Cloird is a valued member of the team whose distinguished work and accomplishments in communities throughout the Bay Area are well documented," Price spokeswoman Patti Lee said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon.

Cloird, who has called Price the "love of my life," has served as the district attorney's campaign manager and transition adviser.

Price is not the first Democratic politician to bring her partner onto her taxpayer- or campaign-funded payroll. Rep. Cori Bush (D., Mo.) used campaign funds to pay a private security guard whom she married earlier this year, and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) kept her then-boyfriend's political consulting firm afloat with hundreds of thousands of dollars before marrying him.