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Sometimes it pays to be part of a political dynasty. Literally.

Former Assemblyman and Sen. Charles Calderon has gotten $60,000 in loans for his campaign to become a Los Angeles Superior Court judge from a single source: his son Ian, a first-term Assemblyman who is the fourth Calderon in the last decade to hold a seat in the Legislature.

"Every Calderon has to get elected," as Charles told The Bee back in 2013, so the son-to-father donations - doled out in three chunks over the last few months - seem consistent with that family mantra. All three passed from the Ian Calderon for Assembly 2014 campaign committee to Charles Calderon for Judge 2014.

The fact that Ian can give away tens of thousands in campaign cash suggests he believes he's in a strong position to win a second term. He does not have any Democratic challengers in the heavily Democratic 57th Assembly District, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly two-to-one.

Nothing about the transaction breaks the law. Unlike with legislative races, there are no dollar limits on donations to a judicial campaign. There's no rule prohibiting one family member from giving directly to another.

"At the end of the day he's my father, and I don't think anyone would have a problem with me helping out my father," Ian told The Bee. "I want to do whatever I can to help him be successful."

This isn't the first time inter-Calderon generosity has shown up on official filings. Charles and his brother Ron, a suspended state senator currently battling federal charges, used their campaign committees to purchase each other Christmas gifts, according to gift disclosure forms.

Ian and Charles have escaped unscathed from a scandal that has engulfed other members of the family of Democrats. Charles' younger brothers Tom and Ron, are both facing federal charges including alleged bribe-taking (Ron) and money laundering (Ron and Tom). Neither Charles nor Ian have been implicated in the case.

PHOTO: Then-Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-Whitter comments on the budget on Tuesday, August 31, 2010. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench.


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