State Sen. Ron Calderon Dropped From Committees

In the wake of a televised report that he took bribes from an undercover FBI agent, the state Senate Rules Committee suspended the Montebello Democrat.

In the wake of a broadcast news report that California state Sen. Ronald Calderon, a Democrat representing the state's 30th district, took bribes from an undercover FBI agent, the Senate Rules Committee suspended Calderon on Tuesday and removed him from the executive board of the California Latino Legislative Caucus.

The committee also disbanded the Select Committee on California's Film and Television Industry, which he chaired. That committee was created at Calderon's request earlier this year -- although it was a largely symbolic gesture, as the committee had no other members and no pending action before it.

Calderon, who was caught in a FBI sting operation made public in an Al Jazeera America broadcast on Oct. 30, allegedly took a $60,000 bribe to alter pending legislation related to California's film and TV tax incentive program.

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Calderon told reporters in Sacramento that he should not have been removed from his committee assignments because he has not yet been charged or convicted of any crime, and insisted that he should be allowed to continue doing what he was elected to do.

During a hearing in Sacramento of the Rules Committee, Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg said they were not making any judgment on whether Calderon was guilty of a crime, but rather were acting based on the Senate's code of ethics and the "standard of conduct expected of public officials."

Calderon was also dropped by the California Latino Caucus, whose chair, Sen. Ricardo Lara issued a similar statement to that of Steinberg: "While we make no judgment as to the veracity (of the criminal allegations), we have a duty to protect the integrity of a distinguished caucus."

By a vote of the Senate Rules Committee, Calderon was also removed as chair of the Senate Insurance Committee and as member on the Senate committees of Banking and Financial Institutions, Environmental Quality, Governmental Organization and the Select Committee on Procurement.