A guest post by Evelyn Asche, a member of the Vast Hogewash Research Organization.
SACRAMENTO — In what appears to have a been a joint effort by California Highway Patrol and the FBI, California State Senator Ron Calderon’s (D—Montebello) offices were raided Tuesday. An FBI spokeswoman said that search warrants were executed at two separate locations at the Capitol “in an effort to gather evidence” regarding “allegations of criminal activity.” The second location was the Latino Legislative Caucus.
While the FBI is not commenting on the reasons behind the raids, the investigation may stem from allegations that Ron Calderon was influencing legislation in order to benefit his brother Tom Calderon’s consulting firm. Ron Calderon has been associated with legislation advantageous to the Central Basin Municipal Water District in Los Angeles County for which Calderon Group, Inc., is a consulting contractor. According to the Central Basin’s records, it appears to have paid Tom Calderon more than $700,000 in consulting fees during the period from September, 2006 to January, 2012, without any explanation of what he actually does for the Water District.
The FBI may be looking into whether or not there was a quid pro quo arrangement with the Central Basin Water District in exchange for favorable legislation. Of course, it’s entirely possible this is just an instance of the Water District taking advantage of a former politician’s expertise. Tom Calderon is also a former California State politician.
In fact, several members of the Calderon family have been involved in state politics for over 30 years. Brothers Charles, Ron, and Tom and Charles’ son Ian have held California State office in one form or another since 1982. Politics are nothing new for them. The scandals and the investigations that come with them aren’t either.
Ron Calderon’s district includes such cities as Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Montebello, and Whittier. For those who are not familiar with Southern California scandals, Bell has been embroiled in it’s own corruption scandal involving the city council, the police department, the city manager, and the mayor. The criminal activity they were accused of ran the gambit from voter fraud, gross misappropriation, corruption, to civil rights violations. Most of the parties involved are still facing prosecution.
It’s important to take note of Bell. George Cole, one of the City Council members from Bell, is a close friend and business associate of Tom Calderon. Cole was charged with 8 felony counts of misappropriation of public funds in the Bell scandal. George Cole also sat on the Board of the Central Basin Municipal Water District during the time those annual contracts were being awarded to Tom Calderon.
And that “involvement” in legislation which turned out to be helpful to the Central Basin Water District? According to reports, Ron Calderon not only sponsored a law that would grant the Central Basin additional powers over another water district, but he also succeeded in blocking an audit of the Central Basin’s financial records. The third brother Charles Calderon got involved when he attempted to get a piece of legislation passed that was favorable to Central Basin.
Both Ron and Charles Calderon have repeatedly denied that their brother’s consulting contract with the Water Basin have had any influence on their political decisions.
After the raid, Charles Calderon told the Sacramento Bee, “Right now we don’t know any facts, and without facts you speculate about the worst.” That was in response to the newspaper’s questions about an investigation involving a charity controlled by the Latino Legislative Caucus.
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Stay tuned. There may be more interesting information to come about this family.