Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

March 28, 2014
VIDEO: Steinberg: No 'gun-running' in Senate ethics training

Steinberg_Calderon_hearing.JPGLegislators never received ethics training about "gun running or other such sordid activities," California state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg noted during house debate Friday over whether to suspend three senators who have been accused of crimes including corruption, perjury and conspiracy to traffic weapons.

PHOTO: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, center, leads the Senate Rules Committee in voting unanimously to strip Sen. Ron Calderon of all committee assignments on November 12, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench

VIDEO: The Sacramento Bee/Laurel Rosenhall

March 28, 2014
VIDEO: Mimi Walters avoids question about her residency

Mimi_Walters.JPGThe California state senate suspended three lawmakers Friday: Democratic senators Leland Yee and Ron Calderon, who have been accused of corruption, and Rod Wright, who was found guilty by a jury of lying about living in the district he was elected to in 2008.

Residency questions have dogged many legislators, as The Bee noted last month, including Republican Sen. Mimi Walters who appeared at a press conference today following the Senate's suspensions. Capitol Alert asked Walters to clarify where she lives.

PHOTO: Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, listens to discussion on the main budget bill as senators prepared to vote on the state budget on June 28, 2011. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

VIDEO: The Sacramento Bee/Laurel Rosenhall

March 28, 2014
Charting the connections in Leland Yee case

Leland_Yee.JPGMultiple undercover agents were involved in compiling the sweeping criminal case against state Sen. Leland Yee, consultant Keith Jackson, alleged crime boss Raymond Chow and others included in Wednesday's 137-page federal complaint.

Click and drag to see how the five-year investigation came together. The text below explains the agents' different cover stories.




UCE 4599: Posed as an east-coast member of La Cosa Nostra, an Italian organized crime syndicate. He told people his money money came from illegal gambling, bookmaking, sports betting, drugs, and outdoor marijuana grows.

UCE 4773: Posed as a businessman engaged in real estate development who also represents a variety of investors and clients. He represented himself "as particularly being interested in expanding his business interests to California in general, and the San Francisco Bay Area in particular, and in making business and political contacts who could facilitate that expansion."

UCE 4212: Posed as "Sonja Schmidt," a business development manager helping CHS 12.

UCE 4684: Posed as a man that UCE 4559 talked to Sullivan and others about wanting to have killed in a murder-for-hire.

UCE 4138: Posed as "Ravi," a staff services manager with the Department of Public Health in Richmond, who talked to Yee about UCE 4212 and UCE 4773's "client."

UCE 4180: Posed as a businessman involved in the medical marijuana business in Arizona, who wanted to be the "Anheuser-Busch" of medical marijuana.

CHS 12: Posed as the owner of a software consulting business being helped by UCE 4212.

PHOTO: State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, speaks to members of the press in his office at the Capitol in Sacramento on February 14, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

March 28, 2014
VIDEO: California lawmakers suspend three disgraced senators with pay

YeeCalderon.jpg

The California state Senate today took the unprecedented step of suspending three of its members who have been accused of crimes including corruption, perjury and conspiracy to traffic weapons -- a move that takes away their power but maintains their pay.

With a vote of 28-1, senators ousted colleagues Democrats Leland Yee of San Francisco, Ron Calderon of Montebello and Rod Wright of Baldwin Hills with a resolution that says they can't resume office "until all criminal proceedings currently pending against them have been dismissed."

Expelling them would be premature, Senate leader Darrell Steinberg said, because Yee and Calderon have not been convicted of their corruption charges and Wright is waiting to see if the judge in his perjury trial upholds the jury's guilty verdict.

As the debate began, Steinberg said he understands the public concern.

"One is an anomaly. Two is a coincidence. Three?" he said. "I am calling on our entire body to take a deeper look at our culture."

He said he would cancel session on April 7 and conduct an "office-by-office ethics review."

Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, said Steinberg's move does not go far enough. He cast the lone vote against the suspensions.

"Which is it today, more smoke a mirrors, more paid holidays for bad behavior?" he asked. "There should be only one measure on this floor...and that's to expel these members."

Steinberg plans to introduce a constitutional amendment allowing the Legislature to suspend members without pay. That, however, would have to be approved by two-thirds of the Legislature and then by voters before it could take effect.

Calderon and Wright have been on paid leaves of absence for roughly a month, which did not require a vote by the Senate. The latest case involving Yee has kicked up the pressure on Democrats to take a more formal action.

Yee was charged in federal court Wednesday with corruption and conspiracy to illegally import guns. A 137-page FBI affidavit alleges that Yee took numerous official actions as a legislator in exchange for contributions to his current campaign for secretary of state. The contributions, it turned out, were from undercover agents. The FBI affidavit also says Yee offered to help an undercover agent pull off an illegal international arms deal.

Yee was arrested Wednesday as part of a massive FBI sweep that involved more than two-dozen people accused of running guns, drugs, stolen liquor and cigarettes — and arranging murder for hire.

It was the latest turn in what's already been a tumultuous year for Democrats in the California Capitol. Last month, a federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Calderon on 24 counts of corruption. And in January, a Los Angeles jury found Wright guilty of perjury and voter fraud for lying about whether he lived in the district he represents.

PHOTO: Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, left, speaks on a bill, while his seat mate Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, works at his desk inside the Senate chambers in January 2014. Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli.

Editor's note: This post was updated at 5:55 p.m. to include mention of Anderson's vote.

READ MORE:

Sen. Leland Yee arrested, Capitol office searched by FBI

Ex-con 'Shrimp Boy' linked to Yee arrest was honored by elected officials

Yee's arrest upends contest for California Secretary of State

VIDEO: FBI raids Sen. Leland Yee's office, carts away files

READ: 'Uncle Leland' involved in arms deal, FBI affidavit alleges

Yee criminal complaint "Word Cloud"

VIDEO: Steinberg says Yee arrest leaves him 'extremely disappointed and upset'

Darrell Steinberg to Leland Yee: Resign or be suspended

Leland Yee pulls out of race for California secretary of state

March 28, 2014
Senate to vote shortly on fates of Yee, Calderon and Wright

YeeCalderon.jpg

California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg moved to suspend three of his Democratic colleagues today who have been accused of crimes including corruption, perjury and conspiracy to traffic weapons.

Two of them — senators Ron Calderon of Montebello and Rod Wright of Baldwin Hills — have been on paid leaves of absence for roughly a month. But Steinberg said Thursday that the latest case involving Sen. Leland Yee has caused him to take things up a step by asking the Senate to cast a formal vote on the fate of their three disgraced colleagues. The senators would still be paid if suspended, because the Legislature's lawyers say they don't have the right to revoke pay unless a lawmaker is permanently expelled.

As the debate began, Steinberg said he understands the public concern.

"One is an anomaly. Two is a coincidence. Three?" he said. "I am calling on our entire body to take a deeper look at our culture."

He said he would cancel session on April 7 and conduct an "office-by-office ethics review."

Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, said Steinberg's move does not go far enough.

"Which is it today, more smoke a mirrors, more paid holidays for bad behavior?" he asked. "There should be only one measure on this floor...and that's to expel these members."

Yee, of San Francisco, became the latest state Senator to face criminal allegations when he was charged in federal court Wednesday with corruption and conspiracy to illegally import guns. A 137-page FBI affidavit alleges that Yee took numerous official actions as a legislator in exchange for contributions to his current campaign for secretary of state. The contributions, it turned out, were from undercover agents.

Yee was arrested Wednesday as part of a massive FBI sweep that involved more than two-dozen people accused of running guns, drugs, stolen liquor and cigarettes — and arranging murder for hire.

It was the latest turn in what's already been a tumultuous year for Democrats in the California Capitol. Last month, a federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Calderon on 24 counts of corruption. And in January, a Los Angeles jury found Wright guilty of perjury and voter fraud for lying about whether he lived in the district he represents.

Wright and Calderon both requested leaves of absence, so their colleagues in the Senate never actually cast a vote on their fate. Steinberg's move to suspend all three would require a majority vote by the Senate, and be an unprecedented action for the house.

A suspension is temporary, while expelling a legislator is a permanent ouster.

Steinberg said he does not think it's right to expel Calderon and Yee because they have not yet been found guilty. In Wright's case, Steinberg has said he is waiting to see if the judge upholds the jury's guilty verdict before taking an irrevocable action against him.

Steinberg plans to introduce a constitutional amendment that would allow the Legislature to suspend members without pay, though that would have to be approved by voters before it could take effect.

PHOTO: Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, left, speaks on a bill, while his seat mate Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, works at his desk inside the Senate chambers in January 2014. Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli.

READ MORE:

Sen. Leland Yee arrested, Capitol office searched by FBI

Ex-con 'Shrimp Boy' linked to Yee arrest was honored by elected officials

Yee's arrest upends contest for California Secretary of State

VIDEO: FBI raids Sen. Leland Yee's office, carts away files

READ: 'Uncle Leland' involved in arms deal, FBI affidavit alleges

Yee criminal complaint "Word Cloud"

VIDEO: Steinberg says Yee arrest leaves him 'extremely disappointed and upset'

March 28, 2014
AM Alert: What happens now to Leland Yee?

yee_press_resized.jpgThe Legislature is off Monday in observance of Cesar Chavez Day, so what should have been a quiet per diem session today will instead become the latest chapter in the bombshell saga of state Sen. Leland Yee, who was arrested by the FBI on corruption charges this week.

The floor session at 9 a.m. will be the first time the Senate meets since the explosive revelations of bribery and gun trafficking involving the San Francisco Democrat. State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and both of California's U.S. Senators have called upon Yee to resign.

It is expected he will be suspended, but what form that action takes remains up in the air. Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff has already introduced a resolution to suspend Yee, though the last time he tried that with a colleague, his measure was parked in the Senate Rules Committee.

VIDEO: Breaking with California's ignoble tradition of failed tech upgrades, a new financial management systems appears headed for success, Dan Walters says.

SÍ SE PUEDE: Cesar Chavez, the late labor icon who helped lead the movement to organize farm workers, is honored every year on March 31, his birthday, with a California state holiday. The Assembly plans to recognize the occasion by inviting 10 members of Chavez's family, including three of his siblings, to accept a resolution honoring the activist's legacy during the 9 a.m. floor session. The presentation was organized by Assembly members Nora Campos, D-San Jose, and Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville.

GOING HOLLYWOOD: This weekend also marks the release of a biopic, Cesar Chavez, starring Michael Peña. The United Farm Workers, a union that Chavez helped start, holds a special screening and panel discussion at 8:30 p.m. at the Century Stadium 14 theater. The event is preceded by a reception at Seasons 52 Fresh Grill on Arden Way at 6 p.m.

GIRL POWER: Sacramento women doing great things will be honored by their local representatives, Steinberg, Assemblyman Roger Dickinson and Rep. Doris Matsui, during the inaugural Women's Appreciation Awards ceremony. The event, which starts at 6 p.m. at the California Museum on O Street, marks the ends of Women's History — or "Herstory," if you prefer — Month, celebrated in March.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, who turns 54 today, and state Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, who turns 45 on Saturday.

PHOTO: State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, leaves Federal Court in San Francisco on March 26, 2014. Bay Area News Group/Karl Mondon

March 28, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: State's new financial management system on the right track

computer_system.JPGBreaking with California's ignoble tradition of failed tech upgrades, a new financial management system appears headed for success, Dan says.

Have a question you'd like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

PHOTO: The Los Angeles Regional Transportation Management Center Oct. 18, 2013. The Associated Press/Reed Saxon



FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK

Capitol Alert Staff


Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. achance@sacbee.com. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee. smith@sacbee.com. Twitter: @DanielSnowSmith

Jim Miller Jim Miller covers California policy and politics and edits Capitol Alert. jmiller@sacbee.com. Twitter: @jimmiller2

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. dsiders@sacbee.com. Twitter: @davidsiders

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. ccadelago@sacbee.com. Twitter: @ccadelago

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. lrosenhall@sacbee.com. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers the Legislature. jwhite@sacbee.com. Twitter: @capitolalert

Koseff Alexei Koseff edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. akoseff@sacbee.com. Twitter: @akoseff

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. dwalters@sacbee.com. Twitter: @WaltersBee

More Capitol Alert

Capitol Alert on Twitter

Popular Categories

Now on sacbee.com/politics

Categories


March 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          

Monthly Archives


Latest California Clips