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Ethics Bills Abound After California Senate Scandals

Andrew Nixon, Capital Public Radio

Andrew Nixon, Capital Public Radio

State lawmakers want to reassure the public that most of them operate in good faith. To reinforce that idea they’re introducing a flurry of bills meant to keep elected officials on the right path.

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia has introduced a package of five bills today that would, among other things, increase fines for lawmakers convicted of bribery and prevent the use of campaign funds to pay restitution. Garcia says she hopes the discussion on ethical behavior doesn’t stop when the shock of recent corruption scandals wears off.

“I am taking advantage of the opportunity, given what is out there and the need to respond," she said. "But I hope this is more of a precedent for something we’re going to be doing even when we’re not in a crisis mode.” 

Another bill, SB 950, introduced today in a Senate committee would extend the statute of limitations on bribery charges.

A group of Senators has also introduced a package of legislation that would ban fundraisers at lobbyists’ homes and prohibit elected officials from accepting gifts from lobbyists.

No Weekend Golf Fundraiser for Calif. Senate Dems

By: Ben Adler

California Senate Democrats are canceling their marquee campaign fundraising event of the year after suspending three of their caucus members facing legal scandals.

But Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says Democrats will continue to raise money for fall campaigns – even though this weekend’s Pro Tem Cup at a San Diego golf course won’t be held.

“Unless and until the public – and we may present this in some form – is willing to really discuss and embrace the notion of public financing, this is the legal and necessary system that we have here,” Steinberg told reporters after the Senate met Tuesday. 

Senators voted to suspend Democrats Ron Calderon, Rod Wright and Leland Yee Friday – two days after Yee was charged with bribery and arms trafficking in an FBI sting.  Calderon has been indicted in a separate FBI investigation, and a jury has convicted Wright of perjury and voter fraud.


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