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Adding Historical Context To Corruption Charges Against LA Councilman José Huizar

Jose Huizar at a Los Angeles City Council meeting on August 6th, 2013.
Jose Huizar at a Los Angeles City Council meeting on August 6th, 2013.
Mae Ryan/KPCC

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Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, long suspected of being a target in a sweeping corruption probe involving a "pay-to-play" scheme at City Hall, was taken into custody Tuesday on a federal racketeering charge.

Huizar, who represents L.A.'s Council District 14, was arrested by federal agents at his Boyle Heights home, according to Laura Eimiller, spokesperson for the FBI's L.A. field office. He has been charged with "conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act," federal prosecutors said in a news release, alleging he agreed to accept at least $1.5 million in bribes. The councilmember "led a criminal enterprise that used his powerful position at City Hall to solicit and accept lucrative bribes and other financial benefits to enrich himself and his close associates," U.S. Department of Justice officials said. That enterprise also engaged in fraud, extortion, and money laundering, according to prosecutors. Tuesday afternoon, the City Council voted 14-0 to suspend Huizar, though he can't be officially removed from his position unless he pleads or is found guilty.

Today on AirTalk, we discuss the latest developments, add historical context to the corruption charges and look at the ethical implications. Do you have thoughts? Join the conversation by calling 866-893-5722. 

With files from LAist. Read the full story here


Zev Yaroslavsky, director of Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and former L.A. County supervisor and city councilmember; he tweets @ZevYaroslavsky

Fernando Guerra, professor of political science and Chicano/Latino studies and director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University; member of the KPCC Board of Trustees