Complaint Filed Against Chris Thompson with DA Over Fullerton Recall Email

Chris Thompson, Fullerton School District

Earlier this week, Fullerton School Board member and Fullerton Recall campaign leader Chris Thompson sent an email to those Fullerton voters who signed the recall petitions against three members of the Fullerton City Council. The email was a pitch for the pro-Bushala slate of Travis Kiger, Barry Levinson and Greg Seborn. Thompson apologized for the bad judgment yesterday, but the No Recall folks have taken this a step further and filed a formal complaint against Thomspon with the DA’s office.

Here’s the press release we received:


Fullerton, CA – Yesterday Tony Bushala’s high priced campaign manager, Fullerton School Board Trustee Chris Thompson, sent a letter addressed to “Dear Fullerton Recall Petition Signer” (click here to view) in clear violation of Elections Code Section 18650. This code section protects the confidentiality of recall petition signers and makes it a misdemeanor for using the names for any purpose other than qualifying the recall.

 “Chris Thompson has been paid over $25,000 of the $260,000 Tony Bushala has contributed to the recall campaign. He fashions himself as an expert on all things campaign related. Yet, he willingly violates the privacy of recall petitioners despite the law prohibiting it. Thompson had the recall petitions in his possession and likely made copies for the purpose of using the signers for future political efforts – a clear violation of the law,” stated Bennett.

ELECTIONS CODE SECTION 18650   18650.  No one shall knowingly or willfully permit the list of signatures on an initiative, referendum, or recall petition to be used for any purpose other than qualification of the initiative or referendum measure or recall question for the ballot, except as provided in Section 6253.5 of the Government Code. Violation of this section is a misdemeanor.

This isn’t the first time Bushala and Thompson have violated the law in this campaign. Last fall while circulating petitions, both were arrested at least seven times for harassing and bullying residents into signing the recall petition.

Visit our website to see past Press Releases and other news:

The release says Bushala and Thomspon were arrested, but not by Fullerton Police and a citizen’s arrest doesn’t quite count in my book.  But the anti-recall people have clearly found the appropriate rule of law that Thompson allegedly violated and more or less admitted to doing.

The large question is will the DA’s office actually prosecute.


  5 comments for “Complaint Filed Against Chris Thompson with DA Over Fullerton Recall Email

  1. noclib1
    June 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Its about time someone called Thompson and Tony B out for their shenanigans. I just wish it would have been sooner.

    I posted these questions on another blog a few days ago, but none of the FFFF candiates responsed. I fugured I’d give them another shot…

    Here are some straightforward questions for the three FFFF candidates (and/or Tony B), who should be willing to answer them in the name of transparency:

    1. You have criticized the three Council members for taking money from special interests like public employee unions and developers. Since the majority of your campaign funds are coming from one person, how are you different from them?

    2. Judging by his financial support and his positive comments on his blog, it’s clear Mr. Bushala is a major supporter. Given the often over-the-top nature of a lot of commentary on the FFFF blog, at what point would you disassociate yourself with these comments? What is your position on Mr. Bushala’s statement that he’s not responsible for what’s posted on a blog he hosts?

    3. As a Council person, you will have to work with City staff at some point. Do you share Tony’s characterizations of 1) the police department as made up, for the most part, of “goons”? 2) all non-safety employees as “overpaid pencil-pushers”? 3) the senior management staff as “out of control”? If so, how can you expect to work effectively with the City organization? If not, have you publicly disagreed with Mr. Bushala?

    4. Generally, Council candidates have been involved in civic affairs, either within the City organization as commission or committee members, or in support organizations such as community groups, for several years, so they are family with the community’s needs as a whole. What has been your experience with such organizations before the recall?

    5. All of you have referred to the “illegal water tax”. Tony has made this a major campaign issue. Yet the Council members he has supported in the past, such as Norby and Nelson, voted for water rates that included the “tax”. Why was it okay then but wrong now?

    6. The same question as number 5, but regarding employee agreements. All three of you make some vague references to employees being over-compensated. But Tony’s two former protégés voted for very similar agreements in the past. Mr. Nelson actively courted the police association’s support for his first Council election. How was it right then but wrong now?

    7. Speaking of compensation, here’s an outside pitch to the current FFFF Council member, Bruce Whitaker. You are a state employee, working for Assembly Member Norby. What is your compensation, health benefit, and retirement package?

    8. Local elections are supposed to be non-partisan, yet this race is clearly divided along partisan lines. If elected, how would you respond to the needs of the entire community rather than your narrow constituency?

    9. On what issues do you disagree with Mr. Bushala? If none, would you as a Council person be willing to work with people with whom he has clearly and aggressively disagreed, yet deserve your respect and attention just as much as he does? If there issues you disagree with him, are you willing to state them publically before the election.

    10. You all embrace a libertarian approach. This recall, at least at first, was about the murder of a homeless person. Given your limited government beliefs, what, if any, services, do you feel the homeless need from local government?

    I don’t think any of these are especially difficult to answer, especially given the know-it-all attitude of the three candidates. So how about it? Let’s see of that transparency in action guys!

  2. junior
    June 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    I don’t know – that law seems kind of vague. Apparently they did not use the signatures – they used the email addresses. A technicality sure, but maybe ………

  3. Tony Rack
    June 1, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Thanks Junior, you just gave me my excuse to not punish this latest political crime.

  4. June 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Interesting point, junior. What does “list of signatures” mean here? It could mean the signatures themselves; it could mean the list that contains signatures (and also physical addresses and apparently e-mail addresses.)

    Which interpretation makes sense? Well, what use are the signatures themselves used for. I suppose that they could be used for purposes of forgery, but there is already a law against that. So the more reasonable interpretation would seem to apply to the entire volume of information physical pages of the list of signatures.

  5. Jon
    June 5, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Fantastic questions noclib. Maybe post them directly to the candidates websites. Those three REALLY need to answer them.

Comments are closed.