State won’t investigate anonymous campaign allegation against Tanaka

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

Daily Post Staff Writer

The California Fair Political Practices Commission will not investigate Palo Alto Councilman Greg Tanaka for campaign violations, the agency announced today.

Someone filed an anonymous complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) against Tanaka in August, 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.

Galena West, chief of the FPPC’s enforcement division, sent a letter to Gary Winuk, a lawyer representing Tanaka, today to say the enforcement division will not be pursuing the matter.

“As you are aware, on Aug. 13, 2020, the Enforcement Division informed your client that we were considering initiating an investigation regarding a possible violation of the Act’s campaign disclosure provisions,” wrote West. “Based on a review of the complaint and the information provided, the Enforcement Division will not pursue an enforcement action in this matter.”


  1. Whether it’s a violation or not, it’s suspicious that Tanaka put these contributions into a campaign account from a previous election and claimed he was going to use the money for office expenses. Then when he decides to run, he is able to use those donations in the current campaign. I guess it’s all legal but it doesn’t smell right.

  2. Sure does smell. It makes no sense. Tanaka raised and spent little money for years on office expenses and suddenly his fundraising is on steroids from New Years Eve ($13,000) on and he spends a whole lot more.
    Then – surprise! 6 months later announces he’s a candidate with a huge war chest of almost all Real Estate Developer money to fuel his campaign.
    Oh sure it was all to pay office expenses which had been about $60 a month for years according to the published complaint.
    Would the FPPC like to buy this nice little bridge I have for sale?

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