Phil Matier: State Sen. Leland Yee’s Campaign Funds Available For His Legal Defense

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Suspended state Sen. Leland Yee could have over $600, 000 to spend on his legal bills thanks to the campaign donations he accumulated for his now-defunct run for Secretary of State.

According to Jay Wierenga, a spokesman for the Fair Political Practices Commission, Yee can spend that money on any political, legislative or governmental purpose he likes¬—including his own legal defense.

Finance reports show Yee has about $134,000 in a campaign account, and that he recently deposited half a million dollars with a TV buyer for ads intended to air before the primary. If the deposit is given back, it will be returned to his campaign account.

Interestingly, it’s not the commission that makes the rules; it’s the lawmakers themselves who do.

Whenever there is some kind of political reform go through the by the Legislature is that it’s ideally suited for them as well. In this case, the rule allows Yee to set up a legal defense fund.

Other politicians like Ross Mirkarimi as Sheriff and former state Senate President Don Perata did the same thing while in office. People had questioned that too. But there wasn’t any action taken then either.

So now the question is: will this money be enough to cover’s Yee’s cost.

It’s hard to know how far the money will go because it’s no known how the case could grow—there are a lot of different characters involved. It’s a good start but I’m not sure if it be enough or can keep him out of prison.

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