News

State Senate candidate faces allegations she violated 'non-coordination' rule with real estate political-action committee

FPPC has asked Annie Oliva to respond before it decides whether to investigate

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has confirmed it will follow up on a complaint it received Jan. 30 raising suspicions that state Senate candidate Annie Oliva has collaborated with an independent expenditure committee supporting her run to represent California's District 13. If she has, it would be in violation of campaign rules set forth in the Political Reform Act.

Oliva has received $423,158 so far in support of her campaign via independent expenditures from one committee: the California Real Estate Independent Expenditure Committee — California Association of Realtors.

There are no limits on how much a third party can spend in support of a candidate, so long as that money is not given directly to the candidate's campaign committee, no coordination occurs with the candidate and the source of the spending is properly disclosed, according to state rules for campaign finance.

Oliva called the complaint baseless, false and politically motivated and said that the complaint lacks information to support the allegations.

"I am running a campaign demanding change — and challenging the status quo on homelessness, housing and how government works. The establishment is pushing back — and we expected that," she said in an email.

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The complaint filed with the FPPC comes from Dan Stegink of Pacifica, who is a founding member of the Peninsula Progressives and one-time candidate for the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. He alleges that photos of Oliva in mailers sent by the independent expenditure committee look suspiciously similar to those in other materials produced by the Oliva campaign, even using the same models, and that none of the photos are publicly available for downloading on her campaign website. This news organization confirmed one of the mailer photos is not on her website.

However, Oliva campaign volunteer Gina Zari, who is the director of government affairs for the San Mateo County Association of Realtors, said that all of the photos are on Oliva's website, under the "Media" link.

In his complaint, Stegink alleges that the independent committee's mailers are the sole mailers being sent to support Oliva's campaign. Part of his suspicion, he said, comes from the outsized role these mailers appear to be playing in Oliva's campaign.

"She has literally done nothing other than these mailers," he said in an interview. "She skipped an awful lot of debates other people were involved in."

Meanwhile, he noted, the independent expenditure committee, which represents Realtor interests statewide, has put more money into supporting Oliva than it has any other campaign in the state.

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What's more, he said, Oliva is in frequent contact at political and social events with two leaders of the San Mateo County Association of Realtors. That group is a member of the California Association of Realtors (CAR) and National Association of Realtors organizations. As of Feb. 11, Oliva's LinkedIn page listed her as a current director at the San Mateo County Association of Realtors and as president of the organization in 2011.

When asked about it, Oliva said that she left the San Mateo County Association of Realtors board in December 2012 and did not update her LinkedIn page.

"Never have I said I am currently on the board in any of my campaign literature, website or any other place. It was an oversight not to update my LinkedIn profile," she said in an email.

San Mateo County Association of Realtors endorsed Oliva in an announcement on the organization's website on Jan. 28 but did not mention her connection to the organization.

At a Feb. 5 forum of the candidates hosted by this news organization, Oliva was asked about the potential influence of the Realtors' group on her as a legislator, given the financial campaign support.

"I had no idea they would be doing this. It's an independent expenditure," she said. "I've been very involved in San Mateo County Association of Realtors and CAR. I'm humbled and very honored they noticed my work. ... I'm grateful for their support.

"That one group is doing whatever they're doing, and I have no clue what's next — if anything is next," she said.

The enforcement division of the FPPC has asked Oliva to respond to the allegations with information and documents by this Monday, Feb. 17. After that, it will determine if it will investigate the allegations.

In addition to the Realtors' independent expenditure funds, the California Real Estate Political Action Committee has donated $9,300 to Oliva's campaign committee, the maximum amount permitted through a small contributor committee. Candidates may accept no more than $4,700 from individuals or $9,300 from small contributors committees through their official campaign committees.

Oliva is one of seven candidates for Senate District 13, which covers the territory from South San Francisco to Sunnyvale and on the coast from north of Pacifica to Año Nuevo State Park and includes about 1 million residents. Democrats Josh Becker, Michael Brownrigg, Sally Lieber, Shelly Masur, Republican Alex Glew and Libertarian John Webster are also competing in the March 3 primary election.

Read our profiles of each candidate, alongside videotaped interviews with six of the seven contenders, on our Atavist page.

Candidates debate

The seven candidates for state Senate District 13 faced off in a debate on Feb. 5. Read our debate recap here. A video from the event is available on our YouTube channel.

Related content:

Oil tax? Wealth tax? Prop. 13 reform? Senate candidates debate how to pay for new programs for state's youngest residents

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Kate Bradshaw writes for the Mountain View Voice, the sister publication of PaloAltoOnline.com.

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State Senate candidate faces allegations she violated 'non-coordination' rule with real estate political-action committee

FPPC has asked Annie Oliva to respond before it decides whether to investigate

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 9:49 am
Updated: Fri, Feb 14, 2020, 4:12 pm

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has confirmed it will follow up on a complaint it received Jan. 30 raising suspicions that state Senate candidate Annie Oliva has collaborated with an independent expenditure committee supporting her run to represent California's District 13. If she has, it would be in violation of campaign rules set forth in the Political Reform Act.

Oliva has received $423,158 so far in support of her campaign via independent expenditures from one committee: the California Real Estate Independent Expenditure Committee — California Association of Realtors.

There are no limits on how much a third party can spend in support of a candidate, so long as that money is not given directly to the candidate's campaign committee, no coordination occurs with the candidate and the source of the spending is properly disclosed, according to state rules for campaign finance.

Oliva called the complaint baseless, false and politically motivated and said that the complaint lacks information to support the allegations.

"I am running a campaign demanding change — and challenging the status quo on homelessness, housing and how government works. The establishment is pushing back — and we expected that," she said in an email.

The complaint filed with the FPPC comes from Dan Stegink of Pacifica, who is a founding member of the Peninsula Progressives and one-time candidate for the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. He alleges that photos of Oliva in mailers sent by the independent expenditure committee look suspiciously similar to those in other materials produced by the Oliva campaign, even using the same models, and that none of the photos are publicly available for downloading on her campaign website. This news organization confirmed one of the mailer photos is not on her website.

However, Oliva campaign volunteer Gina Zari, who is the director of government affairs for the San Mateo County Association of Realtors, said that all of the photos are on Oliva's website, under the "Media" link.

In his complaint, Stegink alleges that the independent committee's mailers are the sole mailers being sent to support Oliva's campaign. Part of his suspicion, he said, comes from the outsized role these mailers appear to be playing in Oliva's campaign.

"She has literally done nothing other than these mailers," he said in an interview. "She skipped an awful lot of debates other people were involved in."

Meanwhile, he noted, the independent expenditure committee, which represents Realtor interests statewide, has put more money into supporting Oliva than it has any other campaign in the state.

What's more, he said, Oliva is in frequent contact at political and social events with two leaders of the San Mateo County Association of Realtors. That group is a member of the California Association of Realtors (CAR) and National Association of Realtors organizations. As of Feb. 11, Oliva's LinkedIn page listed her as a current director at the San Mateo County Association of Realtors and as president of the organization in 2011.

When asked about it, Oliva said that she left the San Mateo County Association of Realtors board in December 2012 and did not update her LinkedIn page.

"Never have I said I am currently on the board in any of my campaign literature, website or any other place. It was an oversight not to update my LinkedIn profile," she said in an email.

San Mateo County Association of Realtors endorsed Oliva in an announcement on the organization's website on Jan. 28 but did not mention her connection to the organization.

At a Feb. 5 forum of the candidates hosted by this news organization, Oliva was asked about the potential influence of the Realtors' group on her as a legislator, given the financial campaign support.

"I had no idea they would be doing this. It's an independent expenditure," she said. "I've been very involved in San Mateo County Association of Realtors and CAR. I'm humbled and very honored they noticed my work. ... I'm grateful for their support.

"That one group is doing whatever they're doing, and I have no clue what's next — if anything is next," she said.

The enforcement division of the FPPC has asked Oliva to respond to the allegations with information and documents by this Monday, Feb. 17. After that, it will determine if it will investigate the allegations.

In addition to the Realtors' independent expenditure funds, the California Real Estate Political Action Committee has donated $9,300 to Oliva's campaign committee, the maximum amount permitted through a small contributor committee. Candidates may accept no more than $4,700 from individuals or $9,300 from small contributors committees through their official campaign committees.

Oliva is one of seven candidates for Senate District 13, which covers the territory from South San Francisco to Sunnyvale and on the coast from north of Pacifica to Año Nuevo State Park and includes about 1 million residents. Democrats Josh Becker, Michael Brownrigg, Sally Lieber, Shelly Masur, Republican Alex Glew and Libertarian John Webster are also competing in the March 3 primary election.

Read our profiles of each candidate, alongside videotaped interviews with six of the seven contenders, on our Atavist page.

Candidates debate

The seven candidates for state Senate District 13 faced off in a debate on Feb. 5. Read our debate recap here. A video from the event is available on our YouTube channel.

Related content:

Oil tax? Wealth tax? Prop. 13 reform? Senate candidates debate how to pay for new programs for state's youngest residents

Comments

OLIEva
Green Acres
on Feb 13, 2020 at 2:24 pm
OLIEva, Green Acres
on Feb 13, 2020 at 2:24 pm
13 people like this

Don’t be fooled by Oliva and her realtor pals: Oliva is anti-housing and anti-tenant. She pushes for policies that make her and her friends more money, public health and safety be damned. [Portion removed.]


Dishonest
Downtown North
on Feb 13, 2020 at 2:36 pm
Dishonest, Downtown North
on Feb 13, 2020 at 2:36 pm
10 people like this

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2020 at 3:41 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2020 at 3:41 pm
6 people like this

Posted by OLIEva, a resident of Green Acres

>> Don’t be fooled by Oliva and her realtor pals: Oliva

Oliva is clearly the favorite of the Realtors (tm), and, as such, is not of interest to me. I await the result of the complaint investigation with mild interest, but, using images from another campaign? I'm pretty hard pressed to put a monetary value on those "donated" images. Images can be awfully cheap in the internet era.

>> is anti-housing and anti-tenant. She pushes for policies that make her and her friends more money, public health and safety be damned.

OTOH, your attack almost makes me want to vote for her. "anti-housing"? Come on. She is a Realtor-- she can't be "anti-housing". Or do you mean anti-SB50? Well, I'm pro-housing and anti-SB50. SB50 was a garbage bill. I'm really glad it died-- rationality prevailed, as it does occasionally. Oh, and I guess you are one of those folks who think that all zoning is bad. Well, I have to disagree there, too. I think it makes perfect sense to locate all the pigsties in one place, the office buildings in another, tall buildings together, shorter buildings together.


Nelson
another community
on Feb 13, 2020 at 7:05 pm
Nelson, another community
on Feb 13, 2020 at 7:05 pm
11 people like this

I live in Millbrae where Oliva's terrible carelessness and attention only to furthering the wallets of her real estate buddies has ruined our city. Really shameless for calling herself an INDEPENDENT VOICE on her website, yet accepting close to half a million dollars in donations from a real estate PAC. She also sent me an email saying that she is tired of the "powerful special interests in Sacramento". What do you call this then?


No dirty money
College Terrace
on Feb 13, 2020 at 7:06 pm
No dirty money, College Terrace
on Feb 13, 2020 at 7:06 pm
4 people like this

Does she think she can buy her way into this election... I hope people are not easily fooled.


Anne Oliva lost broker license
Mountain View
on Feb 14, 2020 at 10:48 am
Anne Oliva lost broker license, Mountain View
on Feb 14, 2020 at 10:48 am
1 person likes this

Another Palo Alto newspaper reported that Anne Oliva lost her real estate broker license in 2018 for misconduct. The CA Department of Real Estate website confirms the account. Take a look.


Frank Vella
another community
on Feb 14, 2020 at 3:42 pm
Frank Vella, another community
on Feb 14, 2020 at 3:42 pm
4 people like this

I've known Olivia for many years now. She is in favor of promoting housing and property rights. The arguments against her are frivolous and ridiculous. Olivaia has worked hared for the members of her community and county. She will work tirelessly for the state as well.


Realtorphbia
Old Palo Alto
on Feb 14, 2020 at 3:56 pm
Realtorphbia, Old Palo Alto
on Feb 14, 2020 at 3:56 pm
Like this comment

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Cdean
Old Palo Alto
on Feb 14, 2020 at 3:59 pm
Cdean, Old Palo Alto
on Feb 14, 2020 at 3:59 pm
4 people like this

These allegations are outrageous! Annie is a strong candidate because of her integrity. She works hard for the community and we would be luck to have her! She supports housing and property rights. The competition must be nervous to resort to these untrue stories. Vote for Annie!


Pacific Friend
another community
on Feb 14, 2020 at 4:03 pm
Pacific Friend, another community
on Feb 14, 2020 at 4:03 pm
5 people like this

When I first read the headline, I thought, whaaaaaat?? This cannot be. Annie is one of the kindest hearted people I know. She is truly concerned about the plight of the homeless and knows that it is not a simple problem, but has some really great idea's to tackle the situation and truly help these people in need. I think we are very lucky to have someone like Annie, who has such high integrity, running for California State Senate.

Upon reading further, it made sense that this complaint that was filed came from someone in Pacifica. Pacifica has a relentless, small but very vocal group that is extremely hateful toward the San Mateo County Association of Realtors for some of their political views. So I guess it makes sense that they will politically attack whomever the association backs politically. Very sad that someone is trying to ensure Annie is taken out of the race for their own political agenda.


Resident
Mountain View
on Feb 14, 2020 at 4:18 pm
Resident, Mountain View
on Feb 14, 2020 at 4:18 pm
Like this comment

[Portion removed.]

Notice how they don't address the specific allegation in the article? No, what we have instead is a heaping dose of kill-the-messenger. No surprise there, especially when you consider that Oliva is by far the most Realtor-friendly candidate in this race.

We deserve better than that.


Peninsula resident 60+ years
Barron Park
on Feb 14, 2020 at 6:25 pm
Peninsula resident 60+ years, Barron Park
on Feb 14, 2020 at 6:25 pm
2 people like this

[Post removed.]


Tommy
Barron Park
on Feb 14, 2020 at 6:31 pm
Tommy, Barron Park
on Feb 14, 2020 at 6:31 pm
2 people like this

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Resident
Mountain View
on Feb 14, 2020 at 7:45 pm
Resident, Mountain View
on Feb 14, 2020 at 7:45 pm
5 people like this

[Post removed.]


Friend of Housing
Midtown
on Feb 15, 2020 at 9:14 am
Friend of Housing, Midtown
on Feb 15, 2020 at 9:14 am
Like this comment

No way any of these things said against Oliva are true. They were made by someone who is on a mission to stop housing and hayes Realtors.

I just checked the Oliva website. Everything in the mailers Oliva mailers is on her website.

Annie Oliva is the real deal.


Resident
Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2020 at 10:18 am
Resident, Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2020 at 10:18 am
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


Resident
Crescent Park
on Feb 15, 2020 at 5:50 pm
Resident, Crescent Park
on Feb 15, 2020 at 5:50 pm
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


Resident
Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2020 at 6:15 pm
Resident, Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2020 at 6:15 pm
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


Jake
Barron Park
on Feb 16, 2020 at 11:35 am
Jake, Barron Park
on Feb 16, 2020 at 11:35 am
2 people like this

[Post removed.]


rcn
another community
on Feb 16, 2020 at 5:53 pm
rcn, another community
on Feb 16, 2020 at 5:53 pm
6 people like this

I'm in Sunnyvale, which isn't listed in the drop-down menu here but is in State Senate District 13. I don't know Annie Oliva -who may be the kindest person in the world - but her onslaught of campaign mailings has influenced me AGAINST her, not for her. Spending big money in election campaigns does not buy my vote.


Dan
Portola Valley
on Feb 16, 2020 at 6:04 pm
Dan, Portola Valley
on Feb 16, 2020 at 6:04 pm
8 people like this

You can see all the "damage" control for Anne Oliva is about how sweet and nice she is, nothing about how she is taking responsibility for the revocation of her broker license or FPPC violations. [Portion removed.]


HMB
Stanford
on Feb 18, 2020 at 4:37 pm
HMB, Stanford
on Feb 18, 2020 at 4:37 pm
2 people like this

She sure isn't the environmental candidate! We get mail from her campaign nearly everyday -- far more than all the other candidates combined! Her whole family (as in the Marshall family of San Bruno) is in the real estate business -- no wonder she gets so much money from that special interest group.


Ben
Barron Park
on Feb 20, 2020 at 5:23 pm
Ben, Barron Park
on Feb 20, 2020 at 5:23 pm
Like this comment

Annie Oliva is running on behalf of real estate and developers, but trying to disguise her campaign as an effort to help the homeless. In fact, her platform offers very little substance on the issue of homelessness. Her campaign's messaging is a transparent effort to fool voters who genuinely care about the homelessness and the housing crisis.


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