- Beretta leaves Maryland over gun laws, heads for Tennessee
- Neal Boortz defends Hillary Clinton for representing child rapist
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Top federal judge uses pizza to explain complex Obamacare situation
- Obama, Biden overhaul job training programs
- Drought-plagued Californians turn to paint to keep lawns green
- ISIL now forcing Iraqi shopkeepers to veil mannequins in Mosul
- 11 parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls die
- Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia
- Turkish P.M. Erdogan won’t speak to Obama, but he’ll take calls from Biden
California lawmaker accused of corruption on leave
Question of the Day
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A California state lawmaker facing federal corruption charges alleging he took kickbacks while in office said Sunday evening he has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the Legislature while he awaits trial.
The departure of Sen. Ron Calderon deprives Senate Democrats of the two-thirds margin they need in the 40-member chamber to raise taxes, pass emergency legislation, override gubernatorial vetoes and put constitutional amendments before voters without Republican cooperation.
Calderon said in a statement that he wasn’t resigning but will take time to focus on fighting the charges against him.
“I do not want to distract from the important work of the Senate and my colleagues on serious issues affecting my constituents and the people of California,” he said.
He said that because of the complexity of the charges, he expects a lengthy leave stretching until the end of the legislative session in August.
“I have accepted his request,” Steinberg said in a two-sentence statement.
Calderon was arraigned last Monday on charges that he accepted bribes totaling $100,000 in cash and trips, funneling some of the money to his children.
He pleaded not guilty, but his fellow Democrats had given him until this coming Monday to resign, take leave or face being suspended.
By taking leave, Calderon will continue receiving his $95,291 annual salary but not the $163 daily expense payment he would get if he were traveling to Sacramento.
Sen. Roderick Wright, a Democrat who represents another Los Angeles-area district, requested the leave after he was convicted of perjury and voter fraud for lying about his legal residence. Wright is seeking to have his conviction overturned before he faces sentencing in May.
Steinberg, D-Sacramento, had said senators would suspend, but not expel, Calderon because he has not been convicted of a crime. But he and other Democrats called for Calderon to step down because he is charged with activities that Steinberg said “strike at the very heart of what it means to be a public official.”
Calderon, 56, is charged with accepting bribes from an undercover FBI agent who pretended to own a Los Angeles movie studio and wanted to expand tax credits for the film industry. He also is charged with accepting bribes from the former owner of Pacific Hospital of Long Beach to back legislation involving state workers’ compensation laws.
Calderon was elected to the state Senate in 2006 and represents Montebello, Bell Gardens and other southeastern Los Angeles suburbs. Wright, 61, served in the Assembly from 1996 to 2002, and has been in the Senate since 2008. He currently represents areas including Carson, Compton, Gardena, Lawndale, Hawthorne and Inglewood, though redistricting has changed the boundaries since he was accused of misrepresenting his legal residence.
TWT Video Picks
The president could pay the full price for ignoring Congress
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- Gen. James Amos, Marine Corps commandant, slams Obama's handling of Iraq
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- LYONS: Small-arms treaty, big Second Amendment threat
- Pentagon team dispatched to Ukraine amid crisis with Russia
- Obama family set to buy $4.25M desert home in California: report
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq