Ex-Compton Councilman Isaac Galvan, dogged by election-rigging scandal, faces $240,000 fine

A man in a white mask and a polo shirt in a courtroom
Then-Compton City Councilman Isaac Galvan appears in a downtown Los Angeles court last year for arraignment on election fraud charges. Next week, he could face a state fine for campaign finance violations.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Dogged by an election-rigging scandal and an ongoing criminal case, former Compton City Councilman Isaac Galvan could face a stiff fine from the state’s political watchdog agency for multiple campaign finance violations, including the personal use of campaign funds.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission will meet July 21 to discuss a possible $240,000 fine against Galvan, according to its agenda.

Galvan, who was reelected to a third term by one vote last year, was forced out of office in May when a judge invalidated the results because of four illegally cast ballots.


The councilman and his reelection committee, according to the FPPC agenda, failed to timely file semi-annual and pre-election campaign statements, failed to properly report committee activity on campaign statements, failed to timely file 24-hour contribution reports, accepted a money order of $100 or more, made unlawful cash expenditures of campaign funds and failed to keep required committee records.

The document also noted that Galvan used campaign funds for personal purposes.

Councilman Isaac Galvan was arrested Friday and charged with conspiring to have illegal votes cast in a race that was ultimately decided by just one vote.

Galvan controlled his reelection committee and served as its treasurer, the FPPC said.

Albert Robles, Galvan’s attorney, told The Times on Thursday that he had not yet reviewed the commission’s agenda and could not comment.

Galvan, 35, was one of six people charged in August with conspiracy to commit election fraud, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Prosecutors allege Galvan conspired with Jace Dawson, one of his opponents in an April 2021 primary for Galvan’s council seat, to direct voters from outside the council district to cast ballots for Galvan in a June runoff against another candidate, the complaint stated.

Galvan won the race 855 to 854, but a judge determined that four votes were submitted by people who did not live in the district.

The results were overturned, and Andre Spicer, Galvan’s challenger, would replace him, Superior Court Judge Michelle Williams Court ruled in May.

Galvan was also accused of trying to bribe an elections official with concert tickets, according to the criminal complaint. The official immediately reported the attempt, according to Dean Logan, L.A. County’s top elections official.

In addition to Galvan, Dawson, Kimberly Chaouch, Toni Sanae Morris, Barry Kirk Reed and Reginald Orlando Streeter were charged with two counts each of conspiracy to commit election fraud.

When she ruled on Spicer’s election challenge in May, Court found that Chaouch, Morris, Streeter and a man named Jordan Farr Jefferson all voted in the runoff between Spicer and Galvan despite not living in the district. Chaouch, Morris, Streeter and Jefferson listed Dawson’s address in Compton as their home when registering to vote in the race, according to the 10-page ruling.

Rep. Ken Calvert, who has opposed gay rights and once attacked an opponent for being gay, is facing a challenge from a gay Democrat in a newly competitive district.

For Galvan — who was first elected in 2013 and described himself as the city’s youngest and first Latino councilman — the election ruling was the latest in a recent string of controversies.

Federal investigators served a search warrant at Galvan’s home in November 2020 as part of an investigation into marijuana licensing practices in Baldwin Park. The search came months after a former Baldwin Park police officer signed a sworn statement that he’d received complaints from three cannabis dispensary operators alleging “questionable business practices, which included paying as much as $250,000 cash in a brown paper bag to city officials.”

In an interview with The Times following the issuing of the warrant, Galvan claimed it had nothing to do with his work in Compton but declined to discuss what, if any, cannabis business interests he had in Baldwin Park.

Galvan was also subpoenaed to testify in grand jury proceedings that ultimately led prosecutors to bring corruption and bribery charges against former Maywood Mayor Ramon Medina and nine others in 2021, an official familiar with the investigation told The Times last year. Galvan invoked his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination during those proceedings and refused to answer questions, the official said.

An official involved in both cases spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss the matters candidly.

In May, an aide to the councilman was arrested in connection with what authorities said is a murder in Downey. David Blake Jr., the son of Compton rapper and producer DJ Quik, was taken into custody after 33-year-old Julio Cardoza was shot in the chest after a fight in the 13200 block of Carfax Avenue on Wednesday.

Blake Jr. was listed as an aide to Galvan, according to the city’s website.