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In the weeks since the arrest of Sen. Leland Yee, two hard-to-reconcile versions of the San Francisco Democrat have emerged: Transparency advocate running for secretary of state versus the man who, according to an FBI affidavit, accepted campaign money in exchange for favors and a promise to set up an illegal gun deal.

An interview with Voice of OC, a non-profit investigative publication based in Orange County, illustrates the size of the gulf between Yee's pre-and-post-arrest image.

In an interview recorded in December, Yee decried the role money plays in politics and suggested public financing of campaigns as a potential cure. He also offered a theory about the psychology of corrupt politicians.

"I think there's that old adage about power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely -- it's just human nature," Yee said. "After a while you kind of feel that you deserve all the perks of office because you've suffered so much, you've given up so much."

If the FBI's allegations are true, Yee spoke those words after having accepted thousands in campaign money from an undercover agent, part of his strategy to retire his campaign debt from running for mayor of San Francisco and to buoy his secretary of state campaign.

You can watch Yee talk money and politics below:

PHOTO: California Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco leaves the San Francisco Federal Building, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in San Francisco. The Associated Press/ Ben Margot.


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