2 California lawmakers to testify before grand jury in Calderon case
This post has been updated. See below for details.
SACRAMENTO — When a federal grand jury convenes in Los Angeles early next month as part of an investigation involving Sen. Ronald S. Calderon (D-Montebello), at least two other lawmakers will be before the panel.
Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) weeks ago acknowledged he had been subpoenaed.
A second lawmaker, Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), tells the Los Angeles Times that he also was commanded by the U.S. attorney’s office to appear.
“Obviously I wasn’t that surprised,” Gray said. “A number of senators have received subpoenas. It appears many of the staff, if not all of the staff that have worked at one time or another for Sen. Calderon, has received subpoenas. So, it didn’t come as a huge surprise. I suspect they want to talk to everybody.”
FBI agents in early June searched the Sacramento offices of Calderon as well as an annex office used by one of his aides. Federal officials have said little about the focus of their search, but FBI agents also questioned officials from cities served by the Central Basin Municipal Water District, which paid Calderon’s brother, Tom, more than $750,000 in consulting fees, starting in 2004.
Gray said his subpoena was delivered after the FBI raid through legislative lawyers, and that he has not spoken to agents. He said he intends to cooperate with the investigation. “I think it is important that we restore the public trust,” Gray said.
He worked as Sen. Calderon’s legislative director for three years, from 2008 to 2011. During that time, Gray said he was invited to attend events paid for by lobbyists and their clients, but as a state employee was unaware of how much money might have passed hands. “I wasn’t involved in that at all,” Gray said.
In April 2010, the state Fair Political Practices Commission fined Gray $400 for failing to report two gifts while working for Calderon, one from the development firm the Irvine Company in the amount of $75.53 for a dinner and the other from the Northern California Power Agency in the amount of $95.88 for tickets to a minor league baseball game and food on his 2008 annual Statement of Economic Interests.
[Updated 2:20 p.m. July 15: The violations were part of a larger commission crackdown on unreported gifts, including those received by 31 lawmakers. Most said the companies providing the gifts had failed to give them receipts to use to report the items.]
De Leon said he had been called to testify as a witness, not as a target of the investigation. His subpoena fueled speculation in the Capitol that investigators are also homing in on a group of healthcare companies that paid Calderon’s brother Tom, a former lawmaker himself, tens of thousands of dollars in consulting fees since leaving the Legislature.
While a consultant, Tom Calderon worked to stop a 2012 De Leon measure that would have cut into the profits of the companies. Both of Tom Calderon’s brothers, Ron and former Assemblyman Charles Calderon (D-Montebello), tried unsuccessfully to block the legislation.
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