SACRAMENTO -- State Sen. Ronald S. Calderon (D-Montebello) has been removed from the executive board of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, the group’s chairman said Tuesday.
Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) noted it has been a banner year for the caucus he chairs, which won approval of several immigration bills including one allowing driver’s licenses for immigrants who entered the country illegally.
“Unfortunately, recent allegations against one of our caucus members, Sen. Ron Calderon, threaten to overshadow our accomplishments and undermine the integrity of the caucus as a whole,” Lara said. “We take these grave allegations seriously. While we make no judgment as to the veracity, we have a duty to protect the integrity of a distinguished caucus.”
Calderon has not been charged with any crime. However, the U.S. attorney’s office is investigating allegations that he accepted $60,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent posing as a film studio executive in exchange for pursuing an expansion of tax credits for the film industry, according to an FBI affidavit released by the Al Jazeera America cable network.
Lara took the action to remove Calderon from the board “to address all distractions that may impede our progress.” Lara appointed Sen. Norma Torres (D-Pomona) to fill Calderon’s seat on the executive board. Lara also removed Calderon as chair of the caucus' Committee on Member Development.
The announcement was made just minutes after the Senate Rules Committee suspended Calderon from his legislative committee assignments.
Calderon blasted his removal from committee assignments. "I have not been charged or convicted with any unjust doing, yet I am being treated by this committee and some media outlets as if I had,” Calderon said. “The appropriate action to take would be to allow me to continue the work I was elected to do and to allow me to remain on my committee assignments."
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