SACRAMENTO -- An FBI affidavit released Wednesday alleged that state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) accepted $21,000 in campaign payments from an undercover FBI agent posing as someone in the marijuana business to arrange meetings with two unidentified state lawmakers in 2013.
On Thursday, that allegation had legislators going back through calendars and notes to see if they were the ones referred to. Three lawmakers reached by The Times who were involved with bills regulating marijuana said it does not appear they met with anyone on the issue through Yee’s alleged arrangement, but other legislators have not yet returned calls.
State Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) wrote three bills to regulate medical marijuana and said he could not recall Yee trying to set up a meeting with someone on the issue.
“We don’t believe he [Yee] established any meetings. Not to the best of our recollection,” Correa said.
State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) had his staff go back through his meeting schedules, and his office issued a statement saying, “He has never had meetings on this topic, on this issue, at the request of Sen. Yee.”
As part of his efforts to raise money for his secretary of state campaign, Yee agreed that in exchange for campaign contributions he would “introduce a donor to state legislators who had influence over pending and proposed medical marijuana legislation, an area in which the donor purportedly had significant business interests,” the FBI affidavit says.
On June 20, 2013, “Yee made one such introduction and in payment for that introduction [an undercover agent] delivered $11,000 cash to Senator Yee and [campaign consultant] Keith Jackson on June 22, 2013,” the affidavit says.
The affidavit alleges that on Aug. 26, 2013, Yee introduced the undercover agent to another legislator and received $10,000 for that introduction.
The secretary of state campaign reported a $4,000 contribution on June 23, 2013, from Jackson, and another $4,000 contribution two days later from an employee of Keith Jackson Consulting, but it is unclear if that is the money provided by the undercover agent.
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) also has proposed legislation relating to medical marijuana. His spokesman, Carlos Alcala, said the lawmaker did not have any meetings regarding medical marijuana on the two dates mentioned in the indictment.
Yee allegedly told the undercover FBI agent that he didn’t think marijuana legislation would happen that year. “However, if it did, it would be by ballot initiative, and as Secretary of State he would help with initiatives,” the FBI affidavit in support of the complaint says.
Staff writers Paige St. John and Melanie Mason contributed to this story.
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