Bribery Probe in Calif. Statehouse Could Alter 2014 Elections

Image: Bribery Probe in Calif. Statehouse Could Alter 2014 Elections California State Sen. Ron Calderon

Tuesday, 03 Dec 2013 11:11 PM

By Cathy Burke

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A six-year federal bribery probe of a powerful California state senator is threatening to upend 2014 legislative elections next year, Fox News reported Tuesday.

The investigation of Democratic state Sen. Ron Calderon exploded into the headlines in June,  when the FBI raided his offices.

By October, however, he was accusing the FBI of targeting him with bribery allegations because he'd refused to help nab fellow Democrats in an FBI sting, Fox News reported.

It's unclear how the scandal will play out for Democrats in next year's elections—and whether it will put the party at risk of losing their majority in both the Assembly and Senate.

But Calderon "has made a threat that politicians live in glass houses," said Rob Stutzman, a GOP consultant in Sacramento, Fox News reported.

"What does he know about other members that at a minimum could serve as an embarrassment for them?"

University of San Francisco politics professor Corey Cook told Fox News Tuesday the scandal is unlikely to resonate with voters across the state, though he warned: "... Democrats' "super majority" in the statehouse "is not bullet proof."

Calderon has already lost his post on the state's film commission as well as his committee asignments, and removed from the board of the state's Latino Legislative Caucus.

Allegations swirling around him "puts everyone under a horrible cloud," state assemblywoman Cristina Garcia—the only one to call for his resignation—told L.A. Weekly.

According to an FBI affidavit made public in October, Calderon was targeted for allegedly taking $88,000 in bribes in exchange for supporting favorable legislation, Fox News reported.

Last month, he accused the FBI of leaking the sealed affidavit because he'd refused to go along with agents' request to wear a wire and rat out two fellow Democrats, state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and state Sen. Kevin de Leon.

Calderon's lawyer, Mark Geragos, accused the agency of a smear campaign, Fox News noted.

Neither Steinberg nor Calderon, who hasn't been charged in the probe, can seek re-election because of term limits.


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