Calderon investigation update: Steinberg says he's protecting the public, Latino Caucus under scrutiny (video)

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Rich Pedroncelli/AP

An FBI agent carries out a box as he leaves the Capitol office of State Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

The leader of the California State Senate said Sunday on NBC4 that he's erring on the side of protecting the public during the FBI investigation into California Senator Ron Calderon of Montebello

Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said  that's why he removed Calderon from the state film commission, and asked the Senate Rules Committee to strip Calderon of his committee seats.

"I'll be damned," Steinberg said, "if I'm going to not do everything in my power to make sure that this doesn't taint the incredible work and the achievements that this legislature - the senate, specifically - have accomplished over the past number of years."

You can watch the full interview below: 

 

The Sacramento Bee reported Sunday that the allegations have, if not tainted the Senate Latino Legislative Caucus, at least raised concerns about some of the internal workings of the politically-powerful group.

[T]he details of the most recent leadership fight [within the caucus] caught the attention of FBI agents investigating one caucus member, state Sen. Ron Calderon, for allegedly taking bribes, according to a court-sealed affidavit made public by Al Jazeera America last month.

The affidavit alleges that another caucus member, Sen. Kevin de León, brokered a deal between Calderon and Sen. Ricardo Lara that resulted in Lara retaining the caucus chairmanship and the group paying $25,000 to a nonprofit run by Calderon’s brother, former assemblyman Tom Calderon. According to the affidavit, Ron Calderon told an undercover FBI agent that the brothers planned to draw eventually on money held by the nonprofit to make “part of a living.”

No charges have been filed against de León or anyone else in the caucus, but the Bee notes that the Calderon case has increased scrutiny of the organization at a time when its membership has grown considerably. 

The Rules Committee will consider Steinberg's request on Tuesday. 

Calderon has denied any wrongdoing.

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