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Tuesday June 7, 2022 — California Primary Election
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United States

U.S. House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 11

Photo of Shahid Buttar

Shahid Buttar

Public Interest Advocate
19,471 votes (10.4%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Ending the corporate corruption of Congress
  • Establishing human rights to all basic needs including healthcare, housing, and food
  • Championing climate justice, including a Green New Deal and nationalizing the fossil fuel sector



Profession:Constitutional lawyer, non-profit leader
Director of Grassroots Advocacy, Electronic Frontier Foundation (2015–2019)
Executive Director, Bill of Rights Defense Committee (now known as Defending Rights and Dissent) (2009–2015)
Counsel, Program to end racial and religious profiling, Muslim Advocates (2008–2009)
Associate Director, American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (2005–2008)
Associate, Heller Ehrman LLP (2003–2005)


Stanford Law School JD (2003)
Loyola University Chicago BA, Summa Cum Laude, Political Science, Creative Writing (2000)


Shahid has been building social movements and speaking truth to power for two decades. Since graduating from Stanford Law School in 2003, he has worked in both San Francisco and Washington as a legal advocate, a non-profit leader, a grassroots organizer, and a poet & musician.

An immigrant from the U.K. whose family lost a home to foreclosure in his teens, Shahid struggled to pay for his education, spending a decade going to college mostly at night while working full-time to earn his BA, summa cum laude, from Loyola University Chicago in 2000. His time in Chicago offered opportunities to observe police corruption, political corruption, and the corruption of capital markets by the precursors of the 2008 financial crisis.

Shahid was among our country’s first advocates for marriage equality for LGBTQ couples. He organized and served on the legal team that represented Jason West, the Mayor of New Paltz, NY starting in 2004.

Since 2008, he has also been a leader in the movement to end warrantless government surveillance, From 2015-2019, Shahid built a national grassroots network for the Electronic Frontier Foundation as the organization’s Director of Grassroots Advocacy, and worked across the U.S. to enable our country’s first local restrictions on the domestic surveillance in cities including San Francisco. He previously served as the Executive Director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee from 2009-2015 after launching the program at Muslim Advocates to challenge racial and religious profiling in 2008.

In addition to LGBTQ rights, privacy, and the right to encryption, Shahid’s work as a public interest advocate has also advanced immigrant rights, campaign finance reform, government transparency, international human rights, and police accountability. His writing has explored issues from the right-wing attack on reproductive freedom to the erosion of voting rights, and from effective counter-terrorism strategies to examples of counter-cultural activism promoting progressive politics at the intersection of art and organizing.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (4)

The Federal Government plays a part in California water allocation and use through a variety of projects and laws.  What, if any, new programs or projects or reforms to existing programs and projects would you support in an effort to handle water shortages caused by the current and any future drought?
Answer from Shahid Buttar:

I support mandatory water use restrictions during drought conditions, as well as projects to replenish groundwater aquifers and replicate indigenous wildfire management techniques. The latter, in particular, is a particularly compelling example of how the proposed federal jobs guarantee could enable crucial projects for which markets have proven poorly poised to marshal needed resources.

Should immigration laws be changed?  What changes would you support?  Please explain why.
Answer from Shahid Buttar:

Immigration laws currently reflect an authoritarian consensus to abandon international human rights. I intend to create a legal, safe, and welcoming pathway to citizenship while de-militarizing our country's borders and dismantling the interior surveillance net that has swept up biometric data from all Americans in the disingenuous name of immigration enforcement.

As Congress Member what, if any, policies or legislation would you support to preserve democracy for all US residents?
Answer from Shahid Buttar:

I support voting rights, includihng pre-clearance provisions to ensure compliance by jurisdictions with a history of discriminating against racial and other minorities.

I have also proposed to end judicial life tenure in order to force overdue turnover on the bench and defend fundamental rights from a judiciary run amok. That reflects my recognition of how the Citizens United decision opened the floodgates for corporate money in elections, which I have tried to stop since litigating Shays v. FEC in the mid-2000s on behalf of Members of Congress who co-sponsored the "McCain-Feingold" Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2003.

I ultimately hope to put in place a public campaign finance system, to finally enable democracy despite the longstanding interventions enabled by capitalism.

What legislation, if any, would you support to reduce American greenhouse gas production?  Please explain the reasons for your position.
Answer from Shahid Buttar:

I am eager to end existing subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, and intend to introduce legislation to nationalize the fossil fuel sector in order to end the era of corporate resource extraction entirely. I also support the Green New Deal and other measures to promote renewable energy.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $145,225

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

Employees of Silly Goose Productions
Employees of Agari Data, Inc
Employees of Haag-streit Usa
Employees of Data Machines
Employees of Dell Technologies

More information about contributions

By State:

California 45.10%
Maryland 4.51%
Texas 4.41%
Ohio 3.93%
Other 42.04%

By Size:

Large contributions (65.46%)
Small contributions (34.54%)

By Type:

From organizations (0.00%)
From individuals (100.00%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Shahid's wide-ranging work finds inspiration in his commitments to international human rights, intersectional feminism, and communities marginalized by the continuing reflections of colonialism. His passions have long aligned around a common purpose: building the movement to put people before profit and communities before corporations.

Videos (1)

— May 10, 2022 Shahid Buttar for Congress Campaign

"We’ve seen that campaign promises, virtue signaling, strongly worded statements, symbolic gestures, and voting alone won’t save us....

I’ve helped win struggles for justice, like marriage equality for same sex couples, guarding religious freedom from the FBI, and blocking the secret acquisition of military spy technology by local police around the country.

Now, I invite your support as we work to offer a new voice for San Francisco in Congress to defend the future from the failures of the past."

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