Phil Matier: Time Running Out For State Sen. Ron Calderon
SACRAMENTO (KCBS) — The clock appears to be ticking for State Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) as his democratic colleagues are giving him just one week to resign—or risk being suspended—after he was indicted on multiple federal corruption charges.
So what’s going on behind closed doors? It’s simple—they want Calderon out. Not only is this a case that’s going to wind its way through the courts, it’s also going to be on the forefront in the court of public opinion.
Calderon has hired Mark Geragos as his attorney, as well as Shepard Kopp, who also defended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi not so long ago. These guys are no shrinking violets and with all the FBI wiretap tapes, transcripts and affidavits out there demonstrating behavior by lawmakers that isn’t necessarily illegal, but extremely embarrassing, it could get real ugly.
There are incidents of free tickets and special preferences involving some the same people that snagged Calderon.
The FBI initially nabbed Calderon in Southern California where he was taking money while helping a clinic that was receiving reimbursements for worker’s comp payments. And after they had him they began a sting operation in Sacramento, where they floated fake bills through to see who would grab money or take favors to help move them through.
Calderon, working for the FBI, wore a wire to some of meetings but after a while, told investigators that would not longer cooperate. The federal investigators then did what they always do when an informant decides not to play ball—they started indicting.
That’s the situation that Calderon created for himself and within Democratic Caucus Sacramento, there have been attempts to figure out how to proceed.
They can’t expel Calderon because he’s hasn’t been convicted of anything but they can, however, suspend him and they have the votes to do just that because the Republican will likely want to get on this as well.
It’s interesting also that one of the state senators calling for Calderon’s suspension, Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood), was just recently convicted of eight felonies, including perjury and voter fraud because he wasn’t living the district where he was registered.
Wright is being allowed to stay another two months—despite being found guilty by a jury—until a judge make final determination.
The difference, some say, is that what Wright did was something small. It’s more technical—something that other sate senators might get caught up in.
Calderon, however, has done something big, ugly and embarrassing. They want him out of the building as soon as possible.