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ElectionsFPPC fines Councilmember Anthony Phan $15,000 for improperly reporting loan and other...

FPPC fines Councilmember Anthony Phan $15,000 for improperly reporting loan and other violations

This past May, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) fined Milpitas Councilmember Anthony Phan in the amount of $15,000. 

Phan was found to be in violation of three counts of the Political Reform Act in 2016 during his run for Milpitas City Council. He was 22 at the time. In a press release distributed on May 19 of this year, the FPPC stated that Phan failed to properly report a loan, made impermissible cash transactions, and did not disclose the necessary contributor information required on campaign statements. 

“After six long years, I’m pleased this matter has finally come to a close. I’m thankful to the FPPC for coming to an agreement with me in settling the issue,” Phan shared with The Beat.

Back in 2016, when Phan was running his first City Council campaign, he started a Committee known as Neighbors for Anthony Phan 2016 – City Council. This Committee reported that on August 24, 2016, it received a $43,000 loan from Phan himself. 

However, the FPPC soon discovered that, according to bank records, no deposit of $43,000 was ever made. Records did show, however, that a bank deposit of $5,000 was made on September 27, 2016. 

According to the FPPC case report, Phan stated that he had intended to make the $43,000 loan deposit. He says that he put all the money in cash in a Nike shoebox and gave it to his treasurer, a cousin of his, to deposit. 

However, his cousin never deposited the money. The cousin was only 14 years old at the time he became the Committee’s treasurer in 2016. Phan took over as treasurer at the beginning of 2017. The FPPC has been unable to locate his cousin, and since he was a minor during the time of the violations, he was not named as a respondent in the case. 

When asked why he hired his young cousin to be treasurer for his campaign, Phan stated:

“I’m grateful to have had my family volunteer their efforts on the campaign. Our volunteers had different roles and responsibilities. My cousin who was a freshman in high school was my treasurer.

“Campaigns often enlist youth as volunteers, as they are given an opportunity to gain valuable skills.”

Phan stated that Le’s mother told him it was too large a sum of money to be deposited into the account, so in the end, his cousin only deposited $5,000. 

Phan claims he didn’t find out that all of the $43,000 wasn’t deposited until January of 2017— after the election. 

Unsure of how to “fix” the discrepancy, Phan went ahead and reported that $20,000 of the loan was actually forgiven. 

The FPPC’s case report states that the investigation made by the Enforcement Division could not “confirm or deny Phan’s account of these events.” 

After the case was opened in August 2017, Phan amended campaign statements again. In his amendment, he put down the $5,000 loan, did away with the $20,000 loan forgiveness, and added a $2,500 loan from himself to the Committee.  

The FPPC also found that Phan and his Committee made impermissible cash transactions by accepting the $5,000 cash loan from Phan, which was not disclosed until later. $4,500 in cash expenditures was also found to be an impermissible transaction. According to Phan, the $4,500 was made as a repayment to himself for the loan.  

In the campaign’s last violation, Phan and his Committee inaccurately reported occupation and employer information for some individuals who contributed to his campaign. Twelve people who made donations were disclosed as “unemployed or retired,” which was found to be inaccurate. 

Phan stated that the donations were procured through a fundraising effort put on by a colleague, and that the colleague did not provide any information for the contributors, so Phan decided he would make up the information himself.  

During the November 2016 election, Phan and his Committee received $31,712 in donations and spent $35,097.

“That was my first campaign for city council, I was fresh out of college and 22. Mistakes were made, I’ve taken responsibility, and I’ve grown a lot since then,” Phan wrote to The Beat in a text.

Phan won his 2016 Milpitas City Councilmember campaign and served for 4 years. He also won his 2020 Councilmember campaign, and just last week, announced he would be running for Mayor of Milpitas. His 2020 campaign had no known violations. He is currently running for Mayor against Councilmember Karina Dominguez and Vice Mayor Carmen Montano

“I settled this matter before launching my mayoral campaign to put this issue in the past and get back to work taking on the big issues and moving Milpitas forward,” stated Phan.

Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro is the winner of a 2022 Golden Quill Award for her Education journalism. She works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works mostly with nonprofit organizations and educational entities to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also the author of “Fierce Woman: Wake up your Badass Self” and “Magic Within: Womb-Centered Wisdom to Realize the Power of Your Sacred Feminine Self.” Her YouTube channel features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief.


  1. Didn’t he also steal a website and illegally divert the funds going to another council member’s campaign to his campaign?

    This is another indictment.

    “After six long years, I’m pleased this matter has finally come to a close. I’m thankful to the FPPC for coming to an agreement with me in settling the issue,” Phan shared with The Beat. If you obeyed the rules you wouldn’t have that problem. Like I said before, a dishonest Democrat is their perfect candidate.

    • Donald, since you frequently bad-mouth the Democratic Party and those of us who call ourselves progressive Democrats, I assume that you voted for Trump twice. Why do you cast Democrats as “dishonest” when your choice for President lied 30,000 times while in office, violated both Constitutional emoluments clauses, and scammed over $750M since his 7-million vote defeat in November of 2020 by touting the Big Lie to his cult followers? His January 6 insurrection was designed to keep him in office so he would not be prosecuted for these long lists of legal cases against Donald Trump:
      When it comes to “dishonest”, the Republican Party may not have the market cornered, but the numbers show them WAY out in front.

      • You’re off topic. Phan is the issue here. The whole Trump hatefest and indoctrination going on is is just a shiny object Dems designed for the easily distracted to deflect attention from the real tragedy and corruption in the WH, aided and abetted by the MSM. Biden’s the President, Trump’s gone. Try to keep up.

  2. The original reporting from 2017 and 2018 is worth revisiting, as there are some interesting details not covered here in this story:

    While the FPPC investigation seems to have proven that Phan did not actually invest $43,000 into his campaign bank account, in both of these interviews from 2017 and 2018 it is assumed in the reporting that he did, and the question is asked as to how Phan acquired $43,000 fresh out of college at the age of 22. Phan said that the savings came “from his personal savings, which included earnings from business investments,” while others alleged that Phan was laundering a loan from his mother into his campaign.

    The one thing that I find disappointing about this FPPC ruling is that it doesn’t make a clear determination on the question of whether or not Phan was laundering a loan received from his mother, but that may have been outside the committee’s purview and investigatory abilities. I hope that journalists will not be afraid to connect the dots on this, especially as Phan now runs for higher office. This is the guy who berated the city’s planning director, brought a bag of popcorn to a council meeting to mock a public commenter, committed mail fraud in a racist scheme to link the mayor to communism, and most recently violated cyber piracy laws according to the DA’s office.

  3. Find the FPPC report here: https://www.fppc.ca.gov/content/dam/fppc/documents/Stipulations/2022/may/3-Anthony-Phan-and-Neighbors-for-Anthony-Phan-2016-City-Council-Stip.pdf As you can read, $15,000 is the maximum amount the FPPC can charge for the 3 offenses.
    Here is my favorite line from page 6 (above the description of the 3 counts against him): “As a result, Phan stated he guessed and made up this information.” I have criticized Phan in the past for not doing his homework before attending Council meetings. I guess that his Council role is not the only thing in his life he treats so casually.
    1 perspective (above) is disappointed that this FPPC ruling doesn’t make a clear determination on the question of whether or not Phan was laundering a loan received from his mother. That non-transparency is a feature (not a bug) when one deals in cash transactions. It is a favorite strategy of Trump who has laundered money for Russian oligarchs for decades. Mr. Phan’s explanation of the various cash transactions seems both suspect and confusing, and neither is something I want from my elected representatives.

  4. A politician who hires family members and then pays them bloated salaries under the table. Certainly never seen this before!
    And now he wants to run for mayor like this never even happened, lmao. You can’t make this up. “It was a mistake, I was young and fresh out of college” bruh you were 22 and giving a 14 year old 40 grand in a box, just stop.

    Can’t believe anyone’s buying this nonsense. Your elected officials do not care about you. They only want to enrich themselves and the people closest to them.


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