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Sen. Kevin De Leon denies role in contribution to Calderon group

FBIRon CalderonRicardo Lara

SACRAMENTO – State Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) on Monday formally denied involvement in a controversial contribution to a nonprofit linked to state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon (D-Montebello).

The state Fair Political Practices Commission had given De Leon 10 days to respond to allegations that he'd arranged a $25,000 contribution from “Yes We Can,” a political committee affiliated with the California Legislative Latino Caucus, to a nonprofit group run by former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, the brother of Ronald S. Calderon.

An FBI affidavit that is part of an investigation into Sen. Calderon alleged the $25,000 was contributed in exchange for Sen. Calderon dropping his challenge to Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) for the chairmanship of the caucus.

“This shall confirm that Sen. De Leon did not request the contribution, did not recommend the contribution and was not part of any vote or decision to make the contribution,” wrote Stephen J. Kaufman, an attorney for De Leon, to Gary Winuk, the enforcement chief for the FPPC.

“In fact,” the letter continued, “Sen. De Leon was not involved in any payment allegedly made by Yes We Can or any other third party to resolve the Latino Caucus leadership dispute.”

As a result, De Leon is not required to file a “behested payment” report disclosing the solicitation of a contribution to a nonprofit, Kaufman wrote.

”We trust that this information resolves all outstanding issues,” he added. “We therefore urge you to close this inquiry immediately without initiating any investigation."

Winuk said a decision on whether to launch an investigation has not been made.

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

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