Senator Leland Yee arrested for corruption
March 27, 2014
California secretary of state candidate State Sen. Leland Yee was arrested on federal corruption charges during an FBI sting on Wednesday. [LATimes]
According to the indictment, Yee is accused of sidestepping campaign donation rules in exchange for political favors, and of engaging in a conspiracy to deal firearms without a license. In addition to arresting Yee, federal investigators arrested gangster Raymond Chow, also known as “Shrimp Boy,” and two dozen of their alleged associates.
Chow, 54, has a criminal history that includes racketeering and robbery, and is the “supreme authority” in the Triad, an international organized crime group.
Also arrested was political consultant Keith Jackson, 49, who worked to raise money for Yee’s political campaigns. Jackson allegedly brokered some of the introductions between Yee and prospective donors who turned out to be undercover FBI agents.
Following the arrests, Senate leader Darrell Steinberg called on Yee to either resign or face suspension by his colleagues.
“We’re going to demand that Leland Yee — yes, innocent until proven guilty — leave the Senate and leave it now,” Steinberg said at a news conference on Wednesday.
If Yee does not resign, the Senate is prepared to suspend him during its next floor session Friday, Steinberg said.
After a little more than a year of a Democrat supermajority in both houses of the California Legislature, the legal troubles of Democrats has cost the party its state Senate majority.
In early March, State Sen. Ronald Calderon (D-Montebello) took a paid leave of absence while he fights federal corruption charges of bribery, fraud, money laundering and other offenses and State Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) also took a paid leave of absence as he prepares to fight felony convictions for perjury and voter fraud.
The legal troubles of Yee, Calderon and Wright has given new power to Republicans who lost their relevance in the 2012 election that gave Democrats a supermajority in both houses.
California law requires that proposed constitutional amendments, new taxes and fees and ballot propositions win by a two-thirds vote of the lawmakers in each house.