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Politics

State Senator Calderon stripped of committee positions amid bribery investigation

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Amid allegations of accepting bribes, lawmakers in Sacramento are taking action against state Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), removing him from all of his committee positions, including chair of the Senate Insurance Committee.

Calderon defended his work in the legislature and denounced the allegations leading to the temporary removal of his committee assignments.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrel Steinberg (D-Sacramento) says the action was necessary, citing a duty to protect legislative integrity.

"I am asking the Rules Committee to temporarily remove Senator Ron Calderon as chair of the Senate Insurance Committee pending resolution of the United States attorney's investigation into his conduct," said Steinberg.

The Senates Rules Committee voted unanimously on Steinberg's recommendation.

"As I have said consistently over the last week, but I want to repeat, I did not make this request lightly, and none of us presume guilt or innocence of the underlying charges," said Steinberg.

Calderon is accused of taking bribe money in exchange to support specific legislation. According to a federal affidavit obtained by Al Jazeera America, Calderon accepted $60,000 from an undercover FBI agent posing as a film studio executive. The agent asked Calderon to back legislation that would give tax credits for filmmakers.

Calderon maintains his innocence. He released a statement after being stripped of his duties: "I have not been charged or convicted with any unjust doing, yet I am being treated by this committee and some media outlets as if I had. The appropriate action to take would be to allow me to continue the work I was elected to do and to allow me to remain on my committee assignments."

Steinberg, however, says the interest and the protection of the public comes first.

"The allegations however are serious enough to potentially cloud any interactions the senator might have with colleagues, advocates and the public on issues within a committee's jurisdiction," said Steinberg.

A group of local elected officials announced they will ask Calderon to resign his position in the California Senate. The group of local leaders says they have concerns about the senator's ability to represent his constituents and carry out his duties amid the allegations.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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california state senate, politics, darsha philips
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