Palo Alto council members Greg Tanaka, left, and Liz Kniss are being investigated for potential campaign finance violations.
Palo Alto council members Greg Tanaka, left, and Liz Kniss are being investigated for potential campaign finance violations.

California’s Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating two Palo Alto council members elected in November for possible campaign finance reporting violations.

The commission’s probe of Councilman Greg Tanaka and Vice Mayor Liz Kniss was sparked by anonymous complaints alleging their campaigns’ financial disclosure forms may be incomplete or inaccurate.

Kniss could not be reached for comment Wednesday before this newspaper’s deadline.

Tanaka said Tuesday his campaign was diligent about reporting campaign donations as they were received.

“I think the campaign did everything it could to be compliant,” Tanaka said.

In a March 7 response to the commission, Tanaka denies all allegations in the Feb. 27 complaint. He also asks for dismissal of the complaint, parts of which he characterized as politically motivated.

The complaint alleges Tanaka’s campaign violated the Political Reform Act by failing to report an in-kind donation from a Palo Alto architecture firm that put up a 13-foot campaign sign for Tanaka at its building during the Nov. 8 election cycle.

Also under investigation is how his campaign left blank or misidentified the occupations of some donors, which Tanaka disputes.

“These inaccurate filings allowed Mr. Tanaka to conceal the amount of donations he received from real estate developers and mislead the voting public,” the complainant states.

The commission also is investigating whether Tanaka made a personal loan to his campaign and paid it back with donations reported after the election.

“As most candidates do, I lent my campaign money,” Tanaka’s campaign said in a response to the commission. “At the end of this expensive campaign, and shortly thereafter I received sufficient campaign contributions to repay my loans. Again, perfectly legal and consistent with campaign customs across the state.”

Excluding a $20,000 loan to himself, Tanaka raised…