The Big Payback

Money talks during election season, and it seems the closer a person is to San Jose’s City Hall, the louder their voice. That could be why San Jose Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio and planning commissioner Edesa Bitbadal raised the most money in the first two and a half months of the year with more than $121K and $86K in campaign contributions, respectively. Councilmember Rose Herrera didn’t do too shabby either, hauling in almost $49K. But Kansen Chu just topped Herrera’s total and, according to his campaign disclosure forms, the money he spent suggests he might be currying votes and/or future favors with cash. No candidate in the five council races came close to spending more than Chu’s $40,473 in the first 11 weeks of 2012. That could be because Chu took a K Street approach—funneling campaign contributions into other political races as well as donating money to influential voting blocs. While other candidates were building websites and printing flyers, Chu gave $500 to each of the following: Jim Beall for State Senate 2012; Re-Elect campaign expenses on Vietnamese newspaper ads. Meanwhile, Chu sits pretty. Although he has yet to pay back his wife, Daisy, the $5K she loaned his campaign in December.

The Fly is the valley’s longest running political column, written by Metro Silicon Valley staff, to provide a behind-the-scenes look at local politics. Fly accepts anonymous tips.

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