California Senator and lawmaker Ronald Calderon who is facing a federal investigation for corruption charges alleging that he took kickbacks was allowed to take a paid leave of absence.
Senator Calderon says that he isn’t resigning he’s just taking an indefinite leave of absence to focus on fighting the criminal charges that he faces.
I do not want to distract from the important work of the Senate and my colleagues on serious issues affecting my constituents and the people of California,” he said.
Last Monday Calderon was charged with accepting bribes totaling more $100,000 cash and then giving the money to his kids. He has plead not guilty to all the charges against him.
Why was Ronald Calderon permitted a paid leave of absence?
Without Calderon Senate Democrats will not have the needed two-thirds margin in the chamber to pass important laws, raise taxes, pass emergency legislation, and put constitutional amendments before voters without cooperation from Republicans.
Senate President Darrell Steinberg accepted and approved Calderon’s request to take a paid leave of absence, before his deadline to resign or be suspended given by fellow Democrats.
During his leave of absence Calderon will continue to receive his normal $95,291 salary.
Senator Calderon, 56, is charged with accepting bribes from an undercover FBI agent who pretended to own a Los Angeles movie studio and wanted to expand tax credits for the film industry. He also is charged with accepting bribes from the former owner of Pacific Hospital of Long Beach to back legislation involving state workers’ compensation laws.
This is the second Democratic Senator to take leave this week while being investigated for criminal charges. Sen. Roderick Wright, also from California, represents another Los Angeles-area district, took a leave of absence after he was convicted of perjury and voter fraud for lying about his legal residence.
Democratic leaders have not asked Calderon to resign because he has not been convicted of a crime. But he and other Democrats called for Calderon to step away for the time being because he is charged with activities that Steinberg said, “strike at the very heart of what it means to be a public official.”
Ronald Calderon from Montebello, California was elected to Senate office back in 2006. He faces 24 charges relating to wire fraud, bribery, money laundering and falsification of tax returns that he has plead not guilty. Calderon’s trial is scheduled for April 22, 2014, if convicted of all the charges he would face a total of 396 years in prison.
Senator Leaves Amidst Corruption Charges.