Political committee is shutting down after Calderon controversy

SACRAMENTO -- A political committee tied to the California Legislature's Latino caucus is shutting down after drawing controversy for one of its donations.

The group, called Yes We Can, notified state officials on Tuesday that it plans to end operations.


It attracted scrutiny from federal and state authorities after allegations were made that it transferred $25,000 to a nonprofit, Californians for Diversity, to resolve a leadership dispute within the Latino caucus.

The nonprofit is tied to Tom Calderon, the brother of Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), who stepped down as caucus vice chair and paved the way for Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) to take over.

Ron Calderon, who is facing a federal bribery investigation but has not been charged, told an undercover agent that he and his brother planned to eventually get paid by Californians for Diversity, according to a leaked affidavit.

The affidavit included an allegation that the $25,000 donation was directed by Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles). If that was the case, his role would have needed to be disclosed under state law.

The Fair Political Practices Commission, the state's ethics watchdog, said Monday that it found no evidence to support the allegation against De Leon. However, it is continuing to examine the donation to see if another elected official directed the money.


Twitter: @chrismegerian