In a nauseating display of outrage there is a flurry of indignation suddenly being pontificated regarding state senators committing felonies while in office. That sure was not the case at the beginning of March before State Senator Leland Yee was arrested for criminal activity unparalleled in California political history.
Without qualification Senator Yee’s arrest is a tragic consequence, however the political posturing being done now compared to how silent the political machine of the Democrats were towards other state senators involved in illegal activity now that Yee is so radioactive is troubling.
There certainly is enough hypocrisy to go around in this situation. One would need a scorecard to merely keep track of the monumental gall being peddled now that the proverbial crap has hit the fan.
Where were the ethics standards of these folks at the beginning or March?
One of the most amazing turnarounds about felonious state senators is the turnaround by Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg who not only urged Yee to quit, but through spokesman Rhys Williams articulated Steinberg would not grant a paid leave for Lee.
Before congratulating Steinberg from being so “tough”, that sure wasn’t the attitude of the Pro Tem Steinberg at the beginning of this month. In fact Steinberg clearly projected political arrogance when three Republicans demanded action for two other state senators caught in a web of political corruption. One state senator was convicted of eight felonies.
Steinberg all but blamed the Republicans for being “political” and declared California was “too busy” dealing with the drought to take action against the other two accused state senators that were accused of felonies. Steinberg also showed no interest in revoking their salaries which must receive approval if ongoing salaries continue for troubled state senators.
Doesn’t Yee deserve the same treatment as your other two accused felons? One guesses not because holding on to the majority in your committee just could not have been a motive for taking no action with your other two problem senators. The old adage of three’s a charm comes to mind.
The sordid political cesspool, as described by critics in a story printed by the San Jose Mercury on Thursday, March 27th, extends far beyond Yee’s close associate Keith Jackson, who was indicted on charges as murder-for-hire and drug dealing, but politicians Mark Leno, Jerry Hill, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, and Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Nora Campos all received money from Jackson from 2007-2009.
Jackson is accused of sending 300 pounds of marijuana monthly to a contact back East in the complaint filed against him. Clearly money laundering could be a source of much of the finances accumulated by Jackson. Associates and friends of Jackson are “shocked” at the allegations.
The feds may have been watching the web of political corruption for years as much of the information the FBI went on came from a former San Francisco Supervisor Ed Jew who was mentored by Leland Yee. Jew was released from federal prison just recently after serving five years for extortion and bribery convictions.
Jew’s defense lawyer Stu Hanlon declared that Jew was brought into the political world by Leland Yee and taught Jew the workings of the political world.
One does not suppose the release of Jew and the plethora of arrests beginning Wednesday, March 26th are connected, or are they?
Many California politicians and liberal groups are quietly creating distance between Yee and themselves, from media to people that benefited from their associations with Yee.
One of the most eye-popping contradictions is the weapons charges being brought up as a complaint against Yee. As one of the major supporters for gun control, while Yee was receiving accolades from a Journalistic Society for work in the area of gun control, alleged arrangements were being made by Yee to have rocket launchers financed involving an extremist Islamic group in Southeast Asia for millions of dollars.
Apparently that felony was just a little too much.