Where’s the best little whorehouse in California?
Try the State Senate chambers in Sacramento.
There are now three state senators — or one out of every nine Democratic Party members — so far this year under indictment on charges of corruption, voter fraud, or trying to illegally broker the sale of shoulder held rocket launchers. It is the equivalent of one state senator being indicted per month. Democrats are fretting about their supermajority. That’s the least of the state senate’s problems. At this clip there won’t be a quorum left by August of 2015.
The latest state senator to prove moralist and historian John Dalberg’s point about “absolute power corrupts absolutely” is Leland Yee.
The San Francisco politician who was named to the Brady Campaign Gun Violence Prevention Honor Roll is being charged with shaking down a FBI agent for campaign contributions in exchange for arranging the purchase of a small arsenal from a violent Muslim separatist group based in The Philippines.
One must assume if Yee trafficked in weapons that they were micro-stamped for ballistics information in accordance to the same rules he championed successfully for California buyers of semi-automatic handguns.
And he certainly didn’t think he was dealing with one individual given his public statements on assault weapons. Yee, during debate in May 2012 over a bill to ban conversion kits that would turn rifles into assault weapons, was quoted as saying, “it is extremely important that individuals in the State of California do not own assault weapons. I mean that is just so crystal clear; there is no debate, no discussion.”
Most folks procuring shoulder-fired missiles tend to act in concert with others and not as individuals. Besides, shoulder-fired missiles aren’t generally classified as assault weapons and Yee wasn’t technically going to possess one. He was simply accused of facilitating a transaction for a healthy finder’s fee.
It also may help explain Yee’s enthusiasm for the bullet train for transportation between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Groups that arm themselves with shoulder launched missiles have a nasty tendency to take out aircraft.
If the charges prove to be true, it could be worse. Yee could have been caught trying to sell “M” rated video games to a minor.
It was Yee in 2005 that got a law passed to make it a criminal act to sell a minor a “M” rated video games on the assumption that playing them increased the chances they’d commit violence or at the very least go out and try to score shoulder fired missiles. Yee’s law was eventually ruled unconstitutional by the courts.
In fairness to Yee, his concern with violence is clearly with virtual reality. He harshly criticized the Department of Defense in 2007 for spending $2 million to support the Global Gaming League because he felt individuals in the military that accessed the platform would become “desensitized to real life violence through on-line violent games.”
Apparently dealing with real missile launchers instead of virtual ones makes Yee more sensitive to violence, sensitive that is, in understanding how he can personally profit from them.
Lee’s arrest came in the middle of his campaign to serve as California’s next Secretary of State. It’s the office that tries to protect the sanctity of voting laws and makes sure that voters aren’t defrauded. It’s something that Yee and his two state senate colleagues that are also under indictment or convicted, apparently have working knowledge of albeit on the wrong side of the fence.
It’s not fair to assume that Yee wasn’t going to publicly list the true source of campaign contributions that were essentially made — according to the FBI — for the purpose of securing yes votes on medical marijuana initiatives and for helping open the door to secure illegal weapons.
After all, it was Yee that made the biggest stink about the California State University Foundation underwriting Sarah Palin’s speech at a fundraising event the organization staged to support campus activities. Yee filed a public information records act while telling reporters Palin asking for a speakers fee was morally bankrupt given the money could have gone to scholarships. When he discovered the public records act didn’t apply to a non-profit operating independently in support of a state university campus, he practically tripped over himself to introduce a bill to change the law.
It’s one of the reasons he receives honors such as the Freedom of Information Award from the California Newspapers Publishers Association.
I’m sure Yee would have demanded the same disclosure from himself when the reporting period came up for the campaign contributions made in exchange for connecting illegal weapons buyers with terrorists who were selling them.
At the end of the day, Yee’s votes on gun control and his stance about ultra-conservatives being legally paid $75,000 to yak before a crowd that generated a record $200,000 to help support a university go contrary to what he was recorded as saying during a chat with an undercover FBI agent, “People want to get whatever they want to get. Do I care? No, I don’t care. People need certain things.”
Yes they do. The people of California desperately need a corruption free legislature where votes aren’t brazenly traded for campaign contributions.
Meanwhile, the FBI could cut down on its travel budget and just open a satellite office at the State Capitol.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Journal or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.