Phil Matier: Bribery, Corruption And Political Etiquette In Sacramento

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)—State capitol watchers think the allegations of bribery and corruption against State Senator Ron Calderon could be problematic for other Democrats in the Legislature in next year’s elections.

I spoke with some Democrats, but of course the first thing going through everyone’s mind in the Capitol Building in Sacramento is, ‘What did I say? Who did I say it to?’

Part of the issue is money being offered in the form of contributions or jobs for help on legislation. That may be commonplace in Sacramento, but usually it’s done on a more subtle level.

On any given day you can go to a restaurant and there will be a fundraiser for somebody and people are throwing money at them from every labor organization and special business operations. That’s the way it’s done and it’s legal. But it’s when they say, ‘can you hire my kids?’ (And they do) and FBI investigations show that they really aren’t doing the work; that’s when things get tricky.

Bribery, Corruption and Political Etiquette In Sacramento

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown chimed in and said that it’s that kind of behavior that makes life miserable for politicians who do things by the book. He added that politicians should conduct themselves assuming that all forms of communication (phone calls, email and memos) should be assumed to be “tapped”.

He went as far as saying, “There is no such thing as an off-the-record conversation for most politicians.”

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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