The Fullerton Observer’s new video channel has posted a series of interviews with candidates running for the three open seats on the Fullerton City Council this year. Among the candidates is Jonathan Mansoori, a young, political newcomer who describes himself as a community organizer and former schoolteacher.
One of the questions asked of each candidate in the Fullerton Observer videos is “Who Are Your Top Campaign Donors?” Mr. Mansoori responds to this question (3:04 in the video) with the following statement: “My mom, several friends and some of my family are my top donors. I’m not receiving any big money.”
A cursory look at his campaign’s financial filings easily belies his claim. His Form 460 covering the period of time between July 1 – December 21, 2105 does show a single contribution of $ 500.00 from his mother, but it also shows a $ 2,000.00 from something called Leadership for Educational Equity California, a political action committee (we’ll call it LEEC-PAC). “Big money?” I’d say so, but perhaps it depends on how big “big” is. But, he did say that his biggest contributors were his friends and family…In his next required filing, covering the period between January 1 – June 30, 2016, is another $ 2,000.00 contribution from LEEC-PAC, bringing the total through the end of the 2016 fiscal year to $ 4,000.00—eight times the amount given to him by his next highest donor (to that date). Most people would consider that much to be “big money” in a city council election. Things get quite a bit more interesting on page 6 of his first pre-election filing, covering the period of July 1 – September 24, 2016, where we find two more donations from LEEC-PAC. The first is for the odd, but eye-popping amount of $ 6,432.00, and the second is for a whopping $ 15,000.00! In 2016 alone Jonathan Mansoori’s campaign received $ 23,432.00 from LEEC-PAC. Adding the $ 2,000.00 from LEEC-PAC in 2015 brings their contributions to $ 25,642. This is BIG MONEY, and it isn’t coming from anywhere in Fullerton. Beyond just the staggering amount of money given to Jonathan Mansoori’s Fullerton City Council campaign, we must consider his astonishing claim in the Fullerton Observer video that he isn’t receiving any “big money,” and that his family and friends are his biggest contributors, despite the fact that all of the contributions from LEEC-PAC are listed as having been received prior to the recording of the video in September of this year. Such an obviously false claim on the part of a candidate cannot go unexamined.
Who is LEEC-PAC, and why are they giving such a huge amount of money to a relatively unknown candidate for a moderately sized city council race? Who else in Fullerton has been the recipient of LEEC-PAC’s largesse? More in Part 2…