FBI bribery probe at California statehouse roils Democratic ranks ahead of 2014 elections

The federal investigation of a powerful California Democratic senator has roiled the state capital with accusations involving bribery, Hollywood and FBI dirty tricks that threaten to impact next year’s elections.

The six-year-long investigation was made public in June when FBI agents raided the offices of Sen. Ron Calderon. But the drama continues to unfold, with the Los Angeles-area lawmaker saying a few weeks ago that he was targeted for refusing to help ensnare fellow Democrats in the FBI sting.

Calderon was in fact targeted for taking $88,000 in bribes — $28,000 from a Long Beach hospital executive and $60,000 from a FBI agent posing as a Los Angeles movie executive — in exchange for supporting favorable legislation, according to a FBI affidavit obtained by Al Jazeera America and made public in October.

Calderon fired back last month in court documents in which he accuses the FBI of leaking the sealed affidavit because he refused to comply with agents’ request to wear a recording device and act as an informant against Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Sen. Kevin de Leon, fellow Democrats.

Calderon attorney Mark Geragos argues in the 161-page document that the agency “engaged in a campaign to smear the reputation of Sen. Calderon and convict him in the press and public.” However, it doesn’t appear to provide specific evidence to support the claim.

Political analysts offer mixed opinions on whether the scandal will result in the kind of state-wide political outrage at polls next year that would cause Democrats to lose control of the statehouse.

However, de Leon is seeking re-election, and the on-going mess appears at least to be putting Democrats at further risk of losing their super majority in the Assembly and in the Senate, which gives it the power to raise taxes, pass emergency legislation, override gubernatorial vetoes and put constitutional amendments before voters without Republican support.


Fox News has the full article

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