Lawmakers are trying not to be distracted by the FBI raid on the offices of State Senator Ron Calderon of Montebello.
The Democratic lawmaker was nowhere to be seen at the State Capitol where a sign on his office door read “Do Not Enter.”
The agents took boxes of documents from his offices and also raided an auxiliary office of the Senator’s across the street from the Capitol. Earlier it was mistakenly identified as the offices of the Latino Legislative Caucus.
Caucus Chair Senator Ricardo Lara said the Caucus was taken aback by the raid and was disappointed that it was distracting attention from the work of the Caucus. He said the Caucus would cooperate with the investigation but also said they didn’t have any details of what the FBI was looking for.
Senate President Pro Tem said he worries about the reputation of the Senate, but said he won’t let the raid keep it from important tasks.
“It’s upsetting, but we’ve got work to do. We’ve got a budget pass in the next 10 days,” said Steinberg.
He also said they would cooperate with any investigation, saying it had nothing to hide.
Calderon’s office had a ‘do not enter’ sign on it the day after the raid and no one was answering the office phone. He also did not attend a scheduled committee meeting.
The Los Angeles Times has reported that the investigation might revolve around consulting contracts awarded by a large water district in Calderon’s district which gets federal grants. Several people linked to Calderon have gotten those contracts, including Calderon’s brother.
The last lawmaker to be targeted by the FBI was former Senate Pro Tem Don Perata. His Oakland offices were raided in 2004 in a corruption investigation that did not result in any arrests.