Santa Ana: Rental Housing Board Member’s Financial Disclosure Is Glimpse Into Mega-Million Dollar World of Political Non-Profit Activism

By:Matthew Cunningham

Last November, Tracy La, the co-founder and executive director of radical activist non-profit VietRise, was nominated for the Santa Ana Rental Housing Board by left-wing Councilman Ben Vasquez. She was appointed by the council and sworn in on November 7, 2023.

However, months went by during which she didn’t fail a financial disclosure report known as a Form 700, as required by state law. OC Independent reported on this lapse, and eventually determined La never received e-mail notification of the requirement due to a data processing error by Santa Ana City Clerk staff.

READ: Complaint Filed With State Watchdog Agency Over Rental Board Member’s Apparent Breach Of Political Reform Act

READ: Santa Ana: Radical Rental Housing Board Member Files Mandatory Conflict of Interest Statement 4 Months Late

Less than 24 hours after the OC Independent reported on her failure to file the mandatory financial disclosure report known as a Form 700, La filed it with the Santa Ana City Clerk.

VietRise is a radical-Left political advocacy group that is focused – like similar leftist groups such as CHISPA – on “building power.” It played a significant role in the successful campaign for rent control in Santa Ana, and is now leading the effort to allow non-Americans to vote in city elections.

In it, La disclosed three sources of income:

  • The Korean Resource Center, which paid her between $10,000 and $100,000 (Form 700 income reporting ranges are very broad.
  • The Tides Center, which paid her between $10,000 and $100,000. The Tides Center is a principal funder of the Korean Resource Center.
  • Charitable Ventures of OC, which paid her an “honorarium” of between $1,001 and $10,000 to be a “workshop presenter.”

However, a week later. La filed an amended Form 700 in which she removed her previously reported income from OC Charitable Ventures from her financial disclosure:

The California Political Reform Act contains only narrow exemptions for Form 700 filers to no report income:

  • Salary, reimbursement for expenses or per diem, or social security, disability, or other similar benefit payments received by you or your spouse or registered domestic partner from a federal, state, or local
    government agency.
  • Stock dividends and income from the sale of stock unless the source can be identified.
  • Income from a PERS retirement account.

Honorariums do not fall under non-reportable income.

OC Independent e-mailed La on June 21 asking why she unreported income, but had received no response at time of publication.

What Is The Korean Resource Center?

The Korean Resource Center (KRC) is a progressive-Left political advocacy group focused on Asian-Pacific Islander issues, as well as standard progressive issues such as rent control. KRC is the fiscal sponsor of VietRise, meaning the KRC handles VietRise’s back-office administration so VietRise staff can focus on political activism. VietRise staff are actually employees of the KRC. The group is basically a Vietnamese subsidiary of the KRC.

In its most recent Form 990 (for 2021) the KRC reported total revenues of $2,062, 273. According to that same report, VietRise had expenses of in 2021 of $650,825:

What is The Tides Center?

The Tides Center is a “left-of-center nonprofit created to manage the fiscal sponsorship services of its “sister” organization, the Tides Foundation. Both groups are part of the Tides Nexus of pass-through and fiscal sponsorship nonprofits based in San Francisco, California,” according to

The Tides Center serves as “fiscal sponsor” to hundreds of left-wing non-profits with hundreds of millions in revenue,. One of its more infamous fiscal sponsorships is The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, which is led by self-described “trained Marxists.”

The Tides Center commands vast financial resources: in 2021, it reported revenues of more than half a billion dollars.

Arms of the Tides Nexus fund and administer a number of left-wing political activist groups in Orange County, including CHISPA and AHRI. This enables these radical groups -which present a public face of street-level activism – to provide generous compensation packages for their young activist staffers, including salaries in the higher five-figures, full health benefits, vacation, and 401k plans.

The Korean Resource Center is a major beneficiary of Tides Center funding, receiving $277,500 in 2021 alone:

What is Charitable Ventures of OC?

Charitable Ventures of OC is a significant player in the progressive non-profit ecosystem that funds left-wing political advocacy in Orange County. OC Charitable Ventures acts as a fiscal sponsor and “incubator” of “social change-makers.” While OC Charitable Ventures incubates a wide spectrum of non-profits with a societal focus, a number of these are clearly focused on impacting the political process and public policy in Orange County.

Charitable Ventures of OC has annual revenues of more than $22 million, according to non-profit tracking service Charitable Ventures of OC also provides funding to the Korean Resource Center, including a $55,000 grant in 2021.

Charitable Ventures of OC is co-captaining a voter turnout drive for the November election called the OC Votes Campaign that views exercising the franchise through a “racial equity” lens.

“Those who do cast their ballot in California are not representative of the broader population — especially in Orange County, where the county’s majority are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC),” write Anne Olin and Taryn Palumbo in an April 19, 2024 op-ed in the Voice of OC. Olin and Palumbo object that “those who vote tend to be older, white, affluent, college-educated homeowners.” In other words, they think too many white people are voting and something needs to be done about it. Rather than encouraging citizens to vote regardless of their race, color or ethnicity, the OC Votes Campaign is focused on voters’ race, color and ethnicity.

Olin is president of OC Charitable Ventures, and Palumbo is head of Orange County Grantmakers, another key part of Orange County’s NGO-industrial complex. Palumbo is even more explicitly radical in her politics, as evinced in op-eds she has published in the Voice of OC.

La’s Form 700 provide a small glimpse into the organized world of interlocking progressive advocacy groups and the sizeable financial muscle powering their collective drive to move Orange County politics to the Left. And this is the tip of the iceberg.

While you won’t find any of this large-scale and sustained political spending on a campaign disclosure report, it is impacting Orange County elections, year in and year out.


Contact Us

Who is OC Independent?

The OC Independent is dedicated to providing factual, informative reporting on Orange County government, politics, education and quality of life issues such as homelessness and access to housing. We seek to illuminate aspects of issues, movements and trends that receive little or no attention from more established, mainstream outlets. Our editorial philosophy is grounded in the principles of the American Founding: limited government, federalism, the separation of powers and equality before the law as indispensable to securing our liberties. The opinions and stances articulated in OC Independent editorials flow from those principles, and are grounded in facts.