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Lawmaker says investigation has left him stressed
June 11, 2013, 05:00 AM By Don Thompson The Associated

SACRAMENTO — A state senator who is the subject of a federal investigation said Monday that the past week has been “very stressful,” but he promised to keep working.

Sen. Ron Calderon, a Democrat from the Los Angeles County city of Montebello, said he intends to do the job he was elected to do, despite having his offices searched by the FBI last week.

He returned to the Capitol on Monday, his first visit to the building since Tuesday’s raid. He took no questions after making a brief statement outside the Senate chambers before lawmakers began a floor session.

“I wish I could answer questions. I have a lot of my own questions that aren’t answered yet,” Calderon said in comments that lasted about 90 seconds.

“My family and I have gone through a lot in the last several days. It’s been very stressful; it’s been very hard on all of us,” he said, facing a wall of television cameras and reporters. “We’re all anxious to put this behind us and carry on a normal life.”

Calderon said he intended to fulfill his job as a legislator, attending committee hearings and working to pass his bills.

“What are they looking for?” a reporter shouted to him during his brief availability.

“Sorry,” Calderon responded as he disappeared back into a Senate office.

He referred all questions to his attorney, Mark Geragos. The FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles have declined to comment on the nature of the investigation.

Calderon spoke confidently and without notes, standing alone before the cameras.

He was dressed in a dark suit, white shirt, and light purple tie, although 10 other senators wore white, light beige or seersucker suits as part of a Capitol tradition known as “white suit day” to commemorate the coming of summer. The tradition harkens back to the days when state offices lacked air conditioning.

Several other senators spoke briefly with Calderon when he returned to the floor, although his colleagues mostly left him alone at his desk. He cast routine votes during the remainder of the brief floor session.

He was a no-show last week with an unexcused absence, citing “personal business” after at least a half-dozen FBI agents carted boxes from his Sacramento offices following a search Tuesday that lasted more than six hours.

An attorney for Calderon’s brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, said the FBI also has tried to contact his client. Attorneys for both men have said their clients did nothing wrong.

The Calderons are part of a political family that also includes a third brother, former Assemblyman Charles Calderon, and Charles’ son, Ian Calderon, who was elected to the Assembly last year.

Tom Calderon is now a political consultant, and public records show ties between his clients and legislation carried by his brothers.

The FBI has confirmed that agents served search warrants in April on a hospital and a pharmacy business that employed Tom Calderon as a consultant.

The Associated Press reported last week that three people who have spoken multiple times with the FBI said agents initially were interested in virtually anything involving the brothers but more recently narrowed their questions to issues surrounding the Central Basin Municipal Water District.

The district paid Tom Calderon $11,000 per month as a consultant. Agents also wanted to know about Ron Calderon’s involvement in legislation affecting the district.

The three people spoke on condition of anonymity because of concern the FBI would be upset by public comments about an ongoing investigation.

Democratic Sen. Kevin de Leon, of Los Angeles, said last week that he has been subpoenaed by a grand jury but is not a target of the investigation. Other lawmakers, aides and lobbyists also are expected to be subpoenaed.

“They have some questions, and they wanted to see if I could assist in some of the questions,” de Leon said after the Senate adjourned. “That’s all I can tell you because that’s all I know.”

He said he does not know if his subpoena is related to the Calderon investigation, nor if any of his colleagues have been subpoenaed.

Ron Calderon’s return to Sacramento had been expected as legislators hurry to pass a budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

———

Associated Press writer Tami Abdollah in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

 

 

Tags: calderon, questions, investigation, angeles, agents, consultant,


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