California lawmakers are demanding the state senator who is accused of accepting more than $60,000 in bribes during an undercover FBI sting operation to resign from office.
Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, was named in a 125-page sealed FBI affidavit that Al Jazeera America claimed to have obtained and released in October, which detailed the FBI’s alleged cause to believe he was involved in multiple bribery schemes.
State Assemblywoman Christina Garcia, of Artesia, led a group of leaders in Calderon’s district on Wednesday to call for his resignation.
"He has done too much damage to the reputation of this community," Garcia said. "He should leave office."
The accusations against Calderon in the Al Jazeera America report include: offering to halt workers' compensation laws to benefit a Southern California hospital executive; offering a state-funded job in the Senate to an undercover agent; and offering to support legislation that would help independent film studios get tax credits.
In some of the schemes, he is accused of including his son, daughter and brother on the payroll of his alleged bribes.
Calderon responded to the call for action in a written statement by calling Garcia an ambitious politician.
"Without knowing the full story and waiting to hear all the facts, (Garcia) has assumed the role of judge and jury by calling for my resignation," Calderon’s statement read. "What has happened to me could happen to anyone in public office."
After drawing negative attention to the state Senate, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said he has done everything possible to separate the Senate from the allegations of Calderon’s bribery.
"I’ll be damned if I am going to let this detract from the good work of this chamber," Steinberg told NBC4 Nov. 10.
Political consultant Luis Alvarado expects the controversy to eventually force Calderon out of office.
"He’s seen other politicians who have survived similar allegations in the past, but I don’t think at the end of the day he is still going to be an elected official in this district anymore," Alvarado said.
The FBI would neither confirm nor deny whether the bribery allegations made against Calderon were true.