SACRAMENTO (KCBS) — Ethics reform legislation in Sacramento, that appeared to be a priority after the arrest of Democratic state Sen. Leland Yee from San Francisco and the additional scandals of two other senators last spring ago, has dissipated.
A string of bills that scrutinized fundraising, free trips, salaries for relatives and others were introduced during the aftermath of Yee’s arrest are losing support even as Sens. Ronald Calderon, D-Montebello, and Roderick Wright, D-Inglewood also face possible prison time. Wright has already been convicted of voter fraud.
In February, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, introduced a bill that would create fundraising “blackout” periods when lawmakers running for re-election are barred from accepting campaign contributions.
But some Democrats who sit on the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee have complained. A majority of the panel’s members declined to cast votes on the bill after reviewing the proposal last month, leaving it without enough support to advance.
State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier said such bills have died from lack of support.
“Unfortunately it’s human nature; it’s just money in this country right now has way too much influence has way too much influence in the political process whether it’s Washington of Sacramento.”
DeSaulnier said he hopes that campaign donations reporting laws will be tightened when the Legislature returns next month.
“Plenty of research indicates—has led to the disparity of income and the struggle with both poverty and middle class. Because if you’ve got money, you can get laws written to protect you,” he said.