CA Senate scrubs websites of 3 Democrats in scandals

by John | April 7, 2014 10:36 am

Access Denied The California State Senate[1] has scrubbed its website and deleted the online archives of three Democratic state Senators that face criminal charges ranging from weapons trafficking to public corruption.

As of April 5 at 7:00 PM, the websites of Democratic Sens. Leland Yee[2] of San Francisco, Ron Calderon[3] of Montebello, and Rod Wright[4] of Inglewood, all of whom have been placed on paid leave, no longer include any mention of the disgraced lawmakers. The website removal is a devastating blow to journalists and members of the public who will no longer be able to investigate past votes, bills and legislative connections of the disgraced lawmakers.

Attempt to cover up for other State Senators?

Incoming Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, has admitted that he was served with a subpoena in the Ron Calderon corruption case. De Leon, who is mentioned 49 times in the FBI’s 124-page complaint against Calderon, is believed to have arranged a $25,000 payment from the Latino Caucus to a nonprofit controlled by Ron Calderon’s brother, Tom. It remains unclear why the State Senate deleted the web archives of the disgraced Senators. However, several other California lawmakers have been cited in the ongoing public corruption cases involving Yee and Calderon. “As set forth below, Senator de Leon caused $25,000 to be contributed to Californians for Diversity, the California corporation controlled by Thomas Calderon in exchange for Ronald Calderon not to challenge Senator Lara to become the Chairman of the Latino Caucus,” the FBI affidavit states[5].

Kevin de Leon: CA Senate “Best Legislative Institution in the Country”

The maneuver comes within days of de Leon declaring that the California State Senate is the best institution in the country. “There is no greater political legislative body in this land than the California State Legislature … and that includes the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate,” de Leon said during the Senate’s recent debate to suspend the senators with pay[6]. “This is an amazing legislative body, a body I love. You are all fine individuals.” “This is the best legislative institution in the country, hands down,” he said. “We’re going through very difficult times, and we’re going to get past this.” De Leon isn’t alone in having a motivation to wipe the online records of the State Senate. Last month, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff[7] disclosed that he potentially met with an undercover FBI agent[8] as a part of the Yee investigation.

Thwart public, press from investigating

In addition to pictures and video clips, the websites also contained substantial information detailing the Senators’ votes and known legislative ties, which could implicate other members of the Senate. In contrast to his public image as a gun control advocate, Yee had never successfully passed a gun control bill[9] during his 11 year career in the state legislature, as reported by[10]. Other outlets, including the San Francisco Chronicle[11], have published Yee’s most hypocritical press releases. Paradoxically, Yee, who has been recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists[12] for his work in open government, had assembled one of the Legislature’s most comprehensive and detailed web archives.

Misinformation, revisionist history by CA State Senate

In addition to deleting information, the State Senate has provided a misleading explanation for the absence of a direct reference to Yee. “SD8 is considered an accelerated area currently represented by Senator Mark Leno and Senator Jerry Hill,” the website for the 8th State Senate district now reads[13]. “These unique circumstances create some areas of overlap between the old and new districts (‘accelerated areas’) and some areas without coverage (‘deferred areas’).” It is unclear whether the web archives for the Senators have been permanently deleted or the public’s access to specific files has been revoked. Attempts to access Wright’s biography at the web address, “[14]” produced a response that read, “Access denied. You are not authorized to access this page.” However, other web pages, such as the press release section[15] of Ron Calderon’s website, delivered a webpage that read, “PAGE NOT FOUND. The requested page could not be found.”

State Senate did not respond to request for comment

A spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg[16] did not respond to an email request for comment Saturday night. Referred to as “Uncle Leland” by his co-conspirators, Yee allegedly offered to smuggle millions of dollars’ worth of automatic weapons into the United States from a Muslim separatist group in the Philippines in exchange for campaign contributions, according to the FBI affidavit[17]. In February, Calderon[18] was charged with a 24-count[19] indictment in connection with bribery and corruption. In January, Wright[20] was found guilty of eight[21] felonies in connection with living outside of his district. Wright’s case did not involve any allegations or bribery or corruption.

Senator Leland Yee Deleted from State Senate 8 Website

State Senate 8 Website Leland Yee No Mention[22]

Senator Ron Calderon Deleted from State Senate 30 Website

Page Not Found[23]

Senator Rod Wright Deleted from State Senate 35 Website

State Senate 35 website Rod Wright No Mention[24]

  1. California State Senate:
  2. Leland Yee:
  3. Ron Calderon:
  4. Rod Wright:
  5. the FBI affidavit states:
  6. suspend the senators with pay:
  7. Bob Huff:
  8. undercover FBI agent:
  9. passed a gun control bill:
  10. reported by
  11. San Francisco Chronicle:
  12. Society of Professional Journalists:
  13. 8th State Senate district now reads:
  15. press release section:
  16. Darrell Steinberg:
  17. FBI affidavit:
  18. Calderon:
  19. charged with a 24-count:
  20. Wright:
  21. found guilty of eight:
  22. [Image]:
  23. [Image]:
  24. [Image]:

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