SACRAMENTO, CA - An FBI affidavit obtained by Al Jazzera America details alleged bribe-taking by California state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello.
The document alleges that Calderon was paid $60,000 for to bribes schemes by an FBI agent posing as a Los Angeles film producer. According to the affidavit, the FBI agent gave Calderon $30,000 for work the senator's daughter never did. In return, Calderon offered to help provide a state tax credit for films that cost less than a $1 million. The FBI agent alleges he made another $30,000 in payment to Calderon for hiring his "girlfriend" to work on his office staff. The woman was actually an FBI agent.
The affidavit was used to secure a search warrant for the capitol offices of Calderon in June after a yearlong investigation by the FBI.
The affidavit also alleges that Calderon was paid $28,000 by Pacific Hospital of Long Beach CEO Michael Drobot, in a separate bribery scheme, for supporting legislation to delay or limit changes in compensation laws on the amount of money care providers are reimbursed for doing spinal surgeries.
Of the money from Drobot, $25,000 was allegedly funneled into a non-profit called "Californians for Diversity," which is controlled by Calderon's brother Thomas Calderon, a former state assemblyman. He was allegedly paid $10,000 a month for his "purported" work as a consultant.
The state sued Drobot, saying he was behind "multiple fraudulent schemes."
The affidavit quotes Ron Calderon as saying he would use $5,000 of the $30,000 received for employing the female FBI agent toward his son Zachary's tuition at the Berkeley School of Music in Boston and deposit the rest into his brother Thomas' non-profit.
Phillip Ung of California Common Cause called the scope of the allegations "shocking."
"Jobs for his kids, college tuition payments, payments controlled by non-profits controlled by the senator and his brother himself who are looking to profit off of this in the future," Ung said. "This is not just a family but also a well-connected, political dynasty here in California."
"We are not issuing any statement and we have no comment on the story," Calderon's spokesperson Mario Beltran said.
Ung said there were still many unanswered questions.
"Questions that voters are going to have about this well-connected and politically successful family in regards to how much did the rest of the family know and when did they figure out about it," Ung explained. "And who else is keeping this as part of a secret."