Tanaka hit with anonymous complaint about donations

Palo Alto Councilman Greg Tanaka. File photo.
Palo Alto Councilman Greg Tanaka. File photo.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Someone has filed an anonymous complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission against Palo Alto Councilman Greg Tanaka, alleging that he didn’t properly disclose campaign donations.

The complaint says Tanaka received $26,350 in donations to his 2016 campaign account since the start of 2019, even though he didn’t file papers to run in this election until July. The complaint says Tanaka should have filed an “intent to run” statement before he started collecting donations. Otherwise, the public might not notice the donations.

Tanaka called the complaint “baseless.”

He said that when he received the donations he had not decided to run yet.

The FPPC hasn’t decided whether to investigate the complaint, according to spokesman Jay Wierenga.

Tanaka received thousands of dollars from several businesses, according to the documents he filed for the money he got before announcing his run.

A company called 1050 Page Mill Road Property LLC gave him $3,000 while 285 Hamilton LLC, Bernardo LLC, Palo Alto Improvement Co. and Waverley Palms LLC each gave him $2,500.
He also got $10,000 from resident Richard Karp.

Of the 10 candidates running for council this fall, Tanaka has raised the most money, $14,669, according to campaign financial disclosure reports for the period up to June 30. The $13,000 he got in months prior brings his total to $27,669.

Councilwoman Lydia Kou was second in fundraising with $14,213 for the period ending June 30. She received $1,000 donations from lawyer Joe Hirsch and residents Lazlo Tokes, Rita Vrhel and Jeanne Fleming.

In 2017, Tanaka agreed to pay the FPPC a $733 settlement for failing to identify several donors as real estate developers. On campaign financial reporting forms, he left blank or misreported the occupations of Chop Keenan, Jim Baer, Roxy Rapp, Mark Gates Jr., Joseph Martignetti Jr. and Perry Palmer.


  1. Tanaka appears to have run a clean campaign. He’s reached out to Palo Altans consistently for years gathering input. I suspect this is some kind of reporting error and nothing serious. I hope Tanaka keeps up the good work.

  2. [Comment removed. Please use the same online name for each comment you post to a particular thread. No sock puppets.]

  3. Candidates are supposed to post their big donations ($1000 or more) within 24 hours. He failed to file those donations. Do you think he decided to run when collecting $13K in donations all on the last day of 2019. No wonder he got all these people (some of whom where the same person with different IDs) to post for him as soon as the article appeared.

  4. Your doing it again Tanaka! Taking big donations from Real Estate Developers, only this time you’re front loading not backloading your campaign, so voters can see whose interests you will represent and it won’t be ours. We now know to vote for another city council candidate who will.
    Interesting you have your defense for the FPPC ready – you just put what must have been a huge amount of work into raising over $26K before “deciding” to run again. Really? I don’t believe you and am sure many other voters won’t either.

  5. Tanaka is committing a felony if you believe his defense. He said he accepted donations from developers before he ever decided to run for re-election. Let’s pretend that’s true. Then why, as an elected official, is he accepting any money from anyone in connection with his council job? If it’s not a campaign donation (and he said it wasn’t, so we’ve got to believe him) then it’s a bribe. Somebody call the District Attorney.

  6. Sillycone Valley strikes again with another baseless yet clearly calculated attack at Tanaka, it was anonymous for a reason. Tanaka has been everything but secretive in his campaign and their are people, such as [name deleted — don’t make groundless accusations against people], who would spin the truth in anyway they can to tear this man down. Vote Tanaka for the sake of Palo Alto.

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