June 15, 2016

Public Corruption Bullet Points

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 6:20 am


Another corrupt public official will likely be headed off to the federal hoosegow according to Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times story headlined Former state Sen. Ron Calderon’s guilty plea in corruption case marks blow to political dynasty.

OpenCdA hopes readers will take time to carefully read the entire story written so informatively and understandably by LA Times writers Joel Rubin and Patrick McGreevy.

Here are a few bullet-point highlights that caught our attention.



  • “The [Calderon] brothers were masters of leverage, using others’ wants and weaknesses to their advantage.”  It’s called betrayal of trust and exploitation of your constituents.
  • “Ron Calderon … pleaded guilty in the case to mail fraud, conceding he accepted tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from undercover FBI agents and a corrupt hospital executive.”  “Calderon admitted that he pressured the owner of a Long Beach hospital to hire his [Calderon’s] son in exchange for pushing legislation in Sacramento that would have benefited the man.”  An executive bribing a corrupt state legislator to push beneficial legislation?  We’re shocked!   That could never happen in Idaho!  Never!  Nope!
  • “… on the heels of a guilty plea last week by Tom Calderon, a former state assemblyman, to a charge of money laundering that stemmed from allegations he helped conceal the bribes his brother [Ron] solicited.”
  • “Although a mail fraud charge sounds somewhat innocuous, included within it are an array of allegations that Calderon solicited and received bribes for himself and his children.”
  • “The [Calderon] family raised nearly $15 million in contributions for dozens of political committees they controlled since 2000.”  When state laws have loopholes big enough to drive an armored truck through, look for a corrupt legislator driving the truck.  Then again, do we really expect legislators to pass laws with strict enforcement and penalty provisions when those same laws may put them or their cronies away?
  • “The older generation’s members used their political muscle to help one another, squeezing political opponents and pushing legislation backed by supporters.”  The family that sells its legislative influence together, profits together with the motto, “A rising tide raises all boats.”
  • “They also leveraged their power to gain important chairmanships on powerful ‘juice committees,’ those overseeing banking, insurance and other industries that have the cash to bankroll political campaigns.”   What would Idaho’s  “juice committees” be?  Which Idaho industries have the cash to bankroll political campaigns?  A look at the most recent Idaho campaign finance disclosure reports would be enlightening.
  • “It’s the end of a chapter.  The Legislature suffered a black eye.”  This from the attorney who wrote the state’s political reform laws.  Sadly for the citizens of California, black eyes often heal quickly, they are sometimes seen as a badge of honor, and they often leave the mistaken impression that only superficial damage was done.

For an excellent rundown of the key people who were involved in the California state Senator Ron Calderon debacle, see the Southern California Public Radio article headlined Calderon corruption charges:  Who’s who in the investigation of California state Sen. Ron Calderon.

Both articles are informative and worth reading to get a better understanding of how public officials become corrupt.

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