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'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More U.S.

Fr. Randy Sly on Thanksgiving and Our Roots of Faith

Image of Ceremonies and periods of thanksgiving are woven through the entire tapestry of history. We find them in the Jewish Calendar of Feasts, in other world religions, in European cultures and native practices of North America, South America, Asia and Africa.

By Fr. Randy Sly

Thanksgiving Day has become a time when we watch parades and then take in large amounts of food and football. According to some calculations, 46 million turkeys-around 550 million pounds-will be consumed during Thanksgiving this year. But that's not how it began! ... continue reading


Thanksgiving Day: We are Still One Nation - Under God Watch

Image of The sincere sentiments expressed by this extraordinary leader, George Washington, should inform our response to all of the challenges we face today in the United States of America. We are still one Nation - under God. They should also inspire us to pray for great leaders to emerge in this our great hour of need. Leaders who can help us see this as an hour of opportunity and an invitation to reaffirm our reliance on God.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

This week the people of the United States of America struggle to find a way through the trauma we are experiencing in the wake of the riots in Ferguson, Missouri. Too many self-appointed "experts" seem all too eager to tell us what divides us. However, even in ... continue reading


Following Ferguson shooting, police departments rush to adopt body cameras Watch

Image of The purchasing of body cameras by police departments nationwide has increased dramatically following the shooting of Michael Brown.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Whether you believe the story told by Ferguson police officer Daren Wilson, or by the family of Michael Brown, it is certain that the case has changed the face of law enforcement in America. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The use of body cameras by police ... continue reading


Catholic Shopping .com is about to have its biggest sale ever for Black Friday weekend!

Image of Sign up so you don't miss any deals during this special Black Friday weekend sale!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

This weekend, Catholic Shopping .com is having an amazing sale with up to 70% off of selected items. These deep discounts will help you finish your shopping early, but be prepared, many of these sales will last just an hour or two and then the specials will be gone! ... continue reading


A Boston man has something new to be thankful for after he received a double arm transplant Watch

Image of Will Lautzenheiser, a professor of film production and screenwriting at Boston University had to undergo surgery to remove his arms and legs in 2011 after he came down with a life-threatening streptococcal infection.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Boston man who received a double arm transplant in October is making remarkable recovery, just in time for Thanksgiving. The best part, he says, is that he is able to hug his loved ones again. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Will Lautzenheiser became infected ... continue reading


Dreaded cartel overlord Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez sentenced to 22 years in prison in U.S. Watch

Image of Top Sinaloa cartel thug Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez has been sentenced to 22 years in prison in the U.S. for planning the delivery of more than 600 pounds of cocaine.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Top Sinaloa cartel thug Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez has been sentenced to 22 years in prison in the U.S. for planning the delivery of more than 600 pounds of cocaine. Some of the damning evidence against him was provided by twin brothers Pedro and Margarito ... continue reading


Here's 3,000 reasons why Obama just made illegal immigrants more attractive to your employer Watch

Image of Due to a loophole in Obamacare, the president's new amnesty plans mean that employers who hire illegals don't have to cover them with insurance, and won't be fined for doing so.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama's new amnesty plan is going to have some drastic effects that most American's aren't aware of, one that may just get you kicked out of a job because of all things, Obamacare. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Under the Affordable Care Act, ... continue reading


Acknowledging Unknown Soldier over known soldiers: Over 1.2 million veterans lack health insurance Watch

Image of As a culture, many of us feel more comfortable honoring the tomb of the Unknown Soldier --

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As many leave laurels at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the United States refuses to acknowledge the health and benefits of known soldiers. While most people assume that veterans automatically receive health care coverage through the Veterans Health ... continue reading


Ferguson in flames as policeman who shot, killed teenager found not guilty Watch

Image of Police claimed they came under heavy automatic weapon fire. Some buildings were left to burn because of the danger.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

People have responded to violence - with violence. After Police Officer Darren Wilson was been cleared of all charges in the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown in August. His surrounding community of Ferguson, Missouri has responded with widespread ... continue reading


Priest in Ferguson reports deep mistrust between groups fueling tension Watch

Image of Police in Ferguson move detain a protester.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Catholic priest assigned to Ferguson, MO, spoke with Vatican Radio about the "festering" mistrust between the populace and police. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Vatican Radio shared an interview with Fr. Arthur Cavitt, a parish priest who was asked about the ... 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, Revelation 20:1-4, 11--21:2
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an ... 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