The federal government alleges Calderon took $100,000 in bribes. In exchange he supported two separate bills.
One would have expanded how film tax credits are applied. The second would have preserved a billing loophole allowing hospitals to double charge for some procedures. Neither was ultimately successful.
But Sacramento State’s Steve Boilard said that’s not the point.
“The damage is done whether or not the legislation goes in one direction or the other," he said.
Boilard is Executive Director of the university’s Center for California Studies.
“The point here is that you have a politician voting on the basis of outside funding rather than on the basis of consideration of the constituents’ best interest," he said.
And, while the allegations against Calderon are egregious, Boilard said it’s common for politicians to accept campaign contributions from people with a vested interest in bills the politicians will be voting on.
“The whole process is just a swamp of this influence of money that I think does pollute the process," he said.
To clean things up, Boilard believes voters have to do a better job when electing people to office. Some may soon get a chance. Senate Democrats have called on Calderon to resign.
Take a look at KPCC's timeline of events about the Calderon case: