The Fair Political Practice Commission (FPPC) confirmed Friday that it has launched an investigation into San Jose Councilman Xavier Campos. Gary Winuk, chief of the FPPC’s enforcement division, says that his office began looking into Campos’ 2010 City Council campaign after San Jose Inside reported that the councilman used the same campaign treasurer, Linda Delgado, as former county Supervisor George Shirakawa Jr. A letter was sent to Campos in March informing him of the investigation.
Shirakawa pleaded guilty March 1 to five felonies and seven misdemeanors related to his misuse of public funds and campaign contributions. Delgado, the mother of one of Shirakawa’s children, served as an absentee treasurer in his 2008 and 2012 supervisor races, which allowed Shirakawa to funnel more than $100,000 in and out of campaign accounts. Shirakawa repeatedly lied on his campaign forms—when he was actually filing them—and even set up a secret bank account. He has blamed a gambling addiction for his illegal activity.
Campos has declined San Jose Inside’s repeated interview requests to discuss what work Delgado did for him as his campaign treasurer. At first glance, however, it appears she did little more than collect a paycheck and sign a few forms.
The councilman should have closed out his campaign account six months after the November 2010 election, according to city rules. However, Campos waited until last October to forgive nearly $10,000 in debt, have himself installed as treasurer and abruptly close the account. All of this occurred while San Jose Inside was investigating Shirakawa, Campos’ close friend. Before running for the District 5 council seat, Campos worked as a policy aide in Shirakawa’s supervisor office.
This is not the first time Campos has been under investigation for his potential involvement in a misuse of funds. Ultimately, the District Attorney’s office decided not to charge Campos in the $1 million theft of teacher and employee pension funds from charter schools run by the Mexican American Community Service Agency (MACSA). Campos served as the nonprofit agency’s chief operating officer (COO) at the time, and many employees still suspect he knew the top officials in the organization were illegally diverting funds.