Follow the Money: Is there a link between No votes and campaign contributions

Did campaign contributions to the three voting no on the UP trail have something to do with this?


On 11/09/2022, George and Tony Bushala each gave $4,900 to the Fred Jung campaign. It’s odd since Jung is up for re-election in 2024. Their PAC (Political Action Committee) Fullerton Taxpayers for Reform (FTR) (major donor Tony Bushala) also supported Jung’s initial 2020 campaign with $12,630 worth of “independent” phone bank, postcard mailers, and robocalls supporting Jung – and spent $45,757 in mailers, phone banks, robocalls, lawn signs, and Facebook ads opposing Jung’s opponent in the District 1 campaign.


District 4 Councilmember Bruce Whitaker was supported by the FTR PAC in his 2020 election with $6,078 worth of mailers and phone banks while spending $21,114 against his opponent. (This is down from the $67,447 the FTR PAC spent supporting Whitaker in his 2012 election). Whitaker is not eligible to run again.


George Bushala contributed $ 2,000, and Tony Bushala contributed $ 4,000 to newcomer Dunlap’s first election in 2020. He is up for re-election in 2024.

Zahra and Charles:

In contrast, Councilmembers Zahra and Charles have contributions from Residents and Unions such as Fullerton Firefighters Assoc, Transportation Workers, OC Employees Assoc, Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers, SW Regional Council of Carpenters, National Union of Healthcare Workers, etc.

See the article Follow the Money: Who Do Fullerton City Council Members Represent?

Beware of PACs.

PAC money will be something to watch for in the 2024 election as the new 1439 amendment states that officials must recuse themselves from voting on issues connected to any direct donor contributing $250 or more within a year after the contribution was made (unfortunately, this new law only covers contributions beginning from Jan 2023).

PACs, however, are still unregulated. So, in the upcoming election, watch out for robocalls, mailers, including slate mailers, internet ads, and even yard signs. Don’t be fooled again. Be aware of who is putting the information out and whether it is false. Many groups putting out such material have tricky names meant to deceive voters.

Where to find the information

All this info and more come from required 460, 461, 496, & 497 reports and are available online on the city website: cityoffullerton.com. Click on Government, then Departments, then City Clerk, then Elections, then Campaign, then Campaign Disclosure Statements.


17 replies »

  1. The Bushalas are Fullerton residents!! This is as biased reporting as it gets!!

    • No one is implying contributions are illegal. Reporting on disclosures and connecting the dots of influence peddling to outcomes is bog standard public interest reporting.

      Can you see that you as a Fullerton resident don’t have the influence of someone spending 10’s of thousands of dollars to support candidates?

      Do you think people spend that kind of money and not expect something for it?

      It may not necessarily in any provable way buy outcomes like an unlawful quid pro quo bribe but it absolutely gets them an attentive ear that you and I do not get.

      Given the reality, it would be foolish NOT to highlight such facts.

      • What makes you think something is asked for in return by spending 10s of thousands of dollars? Ever think they support the campaign because they are supporting it?

        Think again!!

        • “What makes you think something is asked for in return by spending 10s of thousands of dollars?”

          Common sense. And a college degree and half a lifetime watching politics.

          “Ever think they support the campaign because they are supporting it?”


    • …which, by this CouncilMajority’s definition, makes them a “special interest group.” (Before his supports begin to bellyache, this is ALL on PublicRecord)

      • Exactly! Why are UNIONS exempt from campaign finance rules?! Unions have funded Zhara And Shana, I guess reporting on the Union votes and “follow the money” target pieces aren’t part of your agenda…

        • Dear Thee St. College and Otis – Unions are exempt because they represent groups of actual working people producing value through their work instead of passive profits and shareholders. Why PACs are exempt is a real question since they often represent huge industry money trying to influence elections with enormous contributions.
          (Dear Thee – why the odd replacement of your actual name?)

          • So you Union supporters and the Liberal Left have decided that the Private Sector folks, who also have and works government contracts (probably less expensive too), aren’t “actual working people”?

            So that is what pure communism/socialism is. I guess we are finally there…

            • ” have decided that the Private Sector folks”

              No… there are both private sector and public sector unions.

              In any event, it seems natural that lobbying rules for unions (public or private), businesses, and wealthy individuals would be different because they are fundamentally different in goals, governance, scope, etc.

              “So that is what pure communism/socialism is.”

              Non sequitur. It’s almost as if you don’t know what either of those words mean.

  2. …follow the money trail on Zhara And Shana also. FFD and FPD need city council votes for good pension
    Endless generous pay raises, on top of Thier overtime. I wonder why Zhara & Shana never discuss but blindly vote on these issues…talk about a conflict of interest. The 3 blind mice ( all recalled) Jones, McKinley, Bankhead) collectively cost the city millions on KT incident …all were silent as the were also benifactors of contributions for votes scheme same as Z & S.

  3. When did The Fullerton Observer become the Bushala Jung Dunlap Whitaker Observer? This is now a parody paper. What a shame. We need more local journalism and this is not it anymore.

    • It’s lawful to donate money. But it’s also in the public interest to know if specific individuals and interests have or are attempting to buy outsized influence over city government.

      I don’t have sufficient pocket money to buy outcomes or even influence. Others do. The least we can ask for is to know what that influence is so we can exercise the only direct influence we all have: our vote.

      And when nonsensical choices are made by council majority, like late in the game rejecting money to implement a leg of the council established bicycle master plan network, I think it’s important to get the dots connected so we can really understand what our representatives are doing and why.

      This is an important role for local papers.

  4. It is always about following the money – and as you see even a small amount of contributions can purchase favor at the local level.

    Our council is corrupt, we need change ASAP and to bring in a group that will actually represent the population of Fullerton rather than the businesses and developers that want to extract wealth from our community.

    We all work so hard to bring wealth into our community and to build a better future for our progeny. To see it pillaged and pilfered by self serving politicians is an injustice that must be rectified.

    • Walter – Apparently Zahra was not obedient enough to Bushala’s plan (whatever that is).
      I think a wealthy developer’s contributions for and against local candidates is very disturbing especially when based on lies as is the political advertising done by the Bushala machine. Our council level politicians have reason to fear that negativity and no one wants to be on the wrong side of that power. We residents need to stop being so easily fooled – I think that is starting to happen.