Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/31/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Calderon illustrates what's wrong with our political system.

An investigative report has uncovered a tale of bribery and corruption in California that shows precisely what is wrong with our entire political system. A prominent politician is about to be publicly accused of  corruption at the end of a long career.

Ronald Calderon -- politician for sale.

Ronald Calderon -- politician for sale.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/31/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Ronald Calderon, political system, FBI, sting, bribe, corruption, California


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The FBI conducted a lengthy undercover operation in which it has obtained evidence that Ronald Calderon, a state senator for Los Angeles, has engaged in corrupt behavior. Specifically, he accepted bribes and perks in exchange for sponsoring legislation.

The details have been revealed by the investigative unit of Al Jazeera, whose reporters reviewed the documents filed by the FBI against Calderon. The investigation, the report says, was conducted by an undercover agent and is detailed in his reports and others filed in the U.S. District Court in Sacramento.

The affidavit is 124 pages long and goes into great detail into how Calderon proceeded to accept cash for political favors and used a political non-profit as a personal slush fund.

The Al Jazeera report details how undercover FBI agents acted as independent movie executives who were interested in having a special tax credit for movies with budgets of $1 million or more, lowered to $500,000. Calderon agreed to push the legislation through in exchange for thousands of dollars in cash paid to himself and his children.

In one deal, the undercover agent and Calderon specifically agreed that the studio would "hire" Calderon's daughter for $3,000 a month, although she was unqualified and there was no work for her to do. The job was entirely fictitious, but the money was paid-- and spent.

Over the course of the operation, the FBI reported it payed Calderon around $60,000.

Calderon attempted to lower the tax credit to $750,000 but learned such an amendment to an existing bill would require a 2/3 majority vote. The effort was doomed. FBI agents took the setback in stride and urged Calderon to try anyway, which he did.

According to the FBI, Calderon, and his family, have accepted as much as $1 million from people who wanted to essentially buy a senator to craft laws that are favorable to themselves. Over the next several months, it is expected this case will enter the public realm and may mark the end of the Calderon family's political dynasty. Calderon's  older brother Thomas has also held a seat in the state Assembly and his eldest brother, Chuck, became the first Latino Senate President in the 90s. As early as 1994 however, hints of corruption were evident. The state fined him $15,000 for using campaign cash for personal expenses.

The issue with the Calderon family is actually an issue with American politics. American politics are awash in dynasties floated with massive quantities of cash. Politicians do not sponsor legislation because it is wise. They sponsor legislation because it will help them get reelected. Every political stance, every move, isn't based on principles or morality, but rather is decided by what will gather donations and votes.

And in the Calderon case, bribes.

Since politics is all about money, only people who have access to large amounts of it enjoy access to government and its power. This disenfranchises people. Americans have lamented for too long that they never have real choices at the polls. This is true. Without the money to buy the right influence, your voice counts for naught.

The United States needs to dramatically alter its system to remove the money from politics altogether. The nation may have to go so far as to pass laws which actually limit the freedom of individual citizens who become leaders, in an effort to sequester them from corrupt influences. The law would have to ask individuals interested in high office to sacrifice personal freedom in exchange for political power and an opportunity to serve their country.

This isn't as terrible as it sounds, this is the same sacrifice we ask those who join the military to make. To sacrifice their freedom and possibly their lives, in exchange for the opportunity to serve the country and to protect the freedom of the whole. If our youth can answer such a call, surely our elders can too.

Calderon's offices were raided in June. The case against him is pending. When it happens it will be the end of his political career. The problem is not Calderon. The problem is the system that allows him and countless others to flourish for decades before being sent to prison-if ever.


A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More U.S.

The Catholic University of America anticipates Pope Francis' visit Watch

Image of The Catholic University of America eagerly awaits the arrival of Pope Francis to Washington, D.C.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Catholic University of America is full of enthusiastic and hopeful spirits as the papal visit to Washington D.C. comes closer.  MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - In about three weeks, Pope Francis will be celebrating faith with the students, causing ... continue reading


Prosecutors seek death penalty for Charleston church shooter Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Prosecutors decided to pursue the death penalty for the 21-year-old Charleston church shooting suspect Dylann Roof, The Daily Mail reported.  MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - On the court documents filed last Thursday, prosecutors stated that they ... continue reading


ATHEISTS LOSE: A big win for religion as Big Mountain Jesus remains Watch

Image of Big Mountain Jesus statue looks upon the earth.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Atheist activists lost a years-long battle this week over the "Big Mountain Jesus statue," which has been standing for over 60 years on public land near the Big Mountain ski resort in Montana. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The statue was made to ... continue reading


Excitement builds with massive mural of Pope Francis before his midtown Manhattan visit Watch

Image of Commissioned by DeSales Media Group, the communications and technology arm of the Diocese of Brooklyn, the mural is drawing positive attention to the pending papal visit.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Excitement is building in New York City with the visit of Pope Francis this September 24. A massive, hand-painted mural, 225-feet tall has been placed in midtown Manhattan at the corner of Eighth Avenue and 34th Street, close to Madison Square Garden, where the ... continue reading


Five Chinese warships sail near Alaskan coast during Obama's visit Watch

Image of The nation of China has increased defense spending to modernize its forces. China is set to hold a massive military parade this week featuring some 12,000 troops this week, marking the 70 years since World War II ended in Asia.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Unnamed defense officials have identified a Chinese amphibious ship, a replenishment vessel and three surface combatant ships - altogether five Chinese warships in the Bering Sea off Alaska. The ships were sighted during U.S. President Barack Obama's three-day ... continue reading


Immigrants on welfare: Relevant factors often ignored Watch

Image of Workers harvest plants.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Center of Immigration Studies, a group that advocates for lower levels of immigration, released a report showing 51 percent of immigrant-led households receive some kind of welfare benefit. Benefits include Medicaid, food stamps, school lunches, housing assistance ... continue reading


Pope Francis to give United States Mass in Spanish Watch

Image of Pope Francis to deliver Washington Mass in Spanish.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cardinal Donald William Wuerl has announced Pope Francis' decision to give his Washington Mass on September 23 in Spanish. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "It's a recognition of how large the Hispanic population in the United States is," Wuerl said. "And he's ... continue reading


Obama gets votes to protect Iran nuclear deal Watch

Image of Barbara Mikulski becomes the 34th vote for the nuclear deal.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The nuclear deal between the United States, China, Britain, France, Russia, Germany and Iran has been under intense scrutiny from Republicans and some Democrats, however Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski has agreed to pledge support. Mikulski's support means ... continue reading


Pope Francis asks American teenager to sing for him Watch

Image of Valerie Herrera sings

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

17-year-old Valerie Herrera, a senior at Cristo Bey Jesuit High School, was asked by Pope Francis to sing a song. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Americans were invited to a virtual meeting with Pope Francis via satellite, which was moderated from inside the ... continue reading


Making the punishment fit the crime - Ohio judge doles out unusual sentences Watch

Image of Judge Michael Cicconetti's type of justice seems to be working, as only 10 percent of those who complete the judge's unusual sentences wind up in court a second time.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Making the punishment fit the crime seems to be the method behind Judge Michael Cicconetti's madness. The Ohio judge metes out unusual sentences in lieu of hefty fines and jail time. It must be working, as those sentenced to perform the unlikely, court-mandated ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Colossians 1:15-20
15 He is the image of the unseen God, the first-born ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:1, 2, 3, 4, 5
1 [Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 5:33-39
33 They then said to him, 'John's disciples are ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 4th, 2015 Image

St. Rosalia
September 4: St. Rosalia, daughter of Sinibald, Lord of Roses and Quisquina, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter