SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Just last week, the Society for Professional Journalists handed Sen. Leland Yee an award for his work fostering government transparency.
On Wednesday, there is widespread shock about Yee’s arrest, and how much he may have been hiding.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Yee on Wednesday morning. The federal indictment against him and 25 other people, includes charges of conspiracy to receive and transport stolen property, money laundering, and murder for hire.
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a fellow San Francisco Democrat, said he was shocked on hearing of Yee’s arrest.
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A spokesman for Ammiano said the Assemblymember’s thoughts Wednesday were with Yee’s family, because he’s known them since they were on the city’s school board together.
Despite the shocking nature of the allegations, some experts believe there will not be much political fallout from the expected demise of Yee’s political career.
David Latterman, a lecturer on politics for the University of San Francisco, said there shouldn’t be heavy repercussions because Yee did not have many close ties to other politicians that could fall.
“If this was (Tom)Ammiano or (Mark) Leno, this would be a much bigger deal. They both have a lot of other politicians who model themselves after them and call themselves protégés,” Latterman said. “You can’t do that with Yee.”
He also said there aren’t likely to be votes on any upcoming bills that would be impacted by Wednesday’s indictment.
As for negative impacts on the Democratic Party, Latterman said he also expects those to be minimal.
“I don’t think the Republicans can make too much hay of this,” Latterman said. “There’s always a few bad apples in any party.”
Derek Cressman, who is running against Yee for Secretary of State, disagrees with Latterman’s assessment. He said what happened today should be a “wake up call,” and that, “We are clearly beyond the point of looking at one bad apple and instead looking at a corrupt institution in the California senate.”
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