The last time I blogged about current California State Senator Leland Yee was when he was running for the mayor of San Francisco about an SF Weekly unflattering profile of Yee, SKETCHY – Leland Yee Can’t Erase His Past. I’ve met and see Yee a few times in the past attending political events in San Francisco, and he definitely seemed like a guy who was sketchy – showing up late at events, schmoozing, then leaving early. Well, on Wednesday, Senator Yee was arrested as part of multi-site FBI raid:
“State Sen. Leland Yee was arrested on public corruption charges Wednesday after authorities said he solicited money from undercover FBI agents for his current campaign to be secretary of state, promising to use his role in Sacramento to help the federal moles in return for the cash. Yee, a Democrat who represents half of San Francisco and most of San Mateo County and made gun control a signature issue, participated in multiple explicit discussions with an undercover agents about facilitating a gun-trafficking deal in exchange for campaign donations, the FBI said. Yee was one of 26 people charged after a five-year racketeering, gun running, narcotics and money-laundering investigation that also targeted Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, a notorious former San Francisco gangster, officials said, and Keith Jackson, a 49-year-old former San Francisco schoolboard member. Yee was charged in U.S. District Court with conspiracy to traffic in firearms without a license and to illegally import firearms, as well as with participating in a scheme to defraud citizens of honest services. Efforts to reach his chief of staff were unsuccessful. A 137-page criminal complaint alleges that Yee took $10,000 in exchange for lobbying a state agency for a contract; $6,800 for honoring Chow’s Chinatown association with an official Senate proclamation; and $21,000 for introducing a donor pushing legislation to influential lawmakers.”
I recall chatting with a San Francisco elected official a long time ago about my thoughts on Leland Yee being a kind of sketchy, she responded by saying, “Yee *is* sketchy.” So it was no surprise to hear the news about him and his arrest. It’ll be interesting to see if Yee is convicted.
Yee isn’t the only California State Senator to have problems. Since the beginning of the year, there have been two other Democratic State Senators that have essentially taken a leave of absence due to some legal issues, causing California Democrats to lose a super majority (i.e. making California Republicans at the state house completely irrelevant if the Democrats vote as a block).