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Sen. Ron Calderon accused of accepting $60K in bribes

California state Sen. Ron Calderon is seen in this undated file photo.
October 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
State Sen. Ronald Calderon is at the center of an FBI undercover sting. Acording to an Al Jazeera America report, he is accused of accepting nearly $60,000 in bribes.

The Al Jazeera America network posted a sealed FBI affidavit that claims Calderon, a Montebello Democrat, accepted bribes from an undercover FBI agent who was posing as the owner of a film studio in downtown Los Angeles.

We went to the location listed for that studio, and it is a building with offices and warehouses. The owner said they believe there was a studio here some time ago, but that was before they bought the building.

The bribes were supposedly paid to help change tax credits for the film industry and to put a woman on the state payroll who was an undercover agent. Calderon sponsored a bill for such a tax break in 2009.

"It is so shocking and disturbing for us to read and hear the allegations," said state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. "Neither I nor the Senate Democratic Caucus supported Senator Calderon's film tax credit proposal. In fact, no such bill was heard in committee or reached the Senate floor."

The affidavit was filed at about the same time that the FBI raided Calderon's office in Sacramento in June. Agents carted away boxes and other items that may be relevant to an investigation of a public corruption case. The FBI declined to say what the search was for, but the Calderon name came up when the agency looked into the way the Central Basin Water District gave out contracts.

So far, Calderon has not been charged with any crimes. His attorney told the Los Angeles Times, "The only illegal act that is being committed is either by the government or by Al Jazeera ... Releasing a sealed affidavit is a federal crime."

Calderon was a member of the California Film Commission. On Thursday, the commission announced that Calderon was removed from his post.


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