Phil Matier: FBI Affidavit Alleges State Sen. Ron Calderon Accepted Bribes

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California State Senator Ron Calderon, D-Los Angeles County. (California State Senate)

California State Senator Ron Calderon, D-Los Angeles County. (California State Senate)

PhilMatier01-370 Phil Matier
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SACRAMENTO (KCBS) — Democratic State Senator Ron Calderon has not been charged with anything yet, but he is trouble with the law as Al Jazeera America has reported that he is being investigated for taking thousands of dollars in bribes from federal investigators, including an undercover FBI agent.

Last June, the FBI raided a couple of Calderon’s offices—it appears we now know why.

The Calderons are long-time political family from the southeast region of Los Angeles County. There are three brothers that are at the top of the dynasty: Ron, who’s got himself in some serious trouble; Tom, a former state Assemblyman whose consulting firm is also under investigation; and Charles, whose son was just recently elected to the State Assembly.

Brother Tom was going to run to replace Ron in the state Senate until the allegations were made.

none-other than Mark Geragos—the criminal defense lawyer who has represented clients such as Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, Scott Petersen and the locally infamous Dhaliwal brothers—Kulbir and Amritpal—who were involved in the tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo in 2007.

So do we have a reality show or HBO series here or what?

These allegations bring back memories of the so-called “Shrimpscam” investigation in 1985, in which FBI agents went undercover posing as representatives of a phony shrimp-processing company. Five lawmakers eventually went to prison for taking bribes.

This time around it’s about a combination of cooked-up healthcare and film tax relief.

It’s also alleged that one undercover FBI agent was able to get Calderon to put another agent, posing, as his girlfriend and aspiring model, on the state payroll in return for favors—including get Calderon’s adult children jobs in the film industry.

The FBI has quite a case laid out in about 125 pages of the affidavit; it’s fascinating.

It all speaks to the culture of politics and money. They are full-time fundraising animals. This is their job. It’s what they do and they have to find a way to keep it all going.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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