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Don Perata probe makes the Wall Street Journal

By Josh Richman
Friday, August 1st, 2008 at 2:01 pm in California State Senate, Don Perata.

The Wall Street Journal carried an article today (subscription required) about how concern over an allegedly imminent federal corruption indictment might be tripping up state Senate President Don Perata’s efforts to face down legislative Republicans and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on the state budget.

As I wrote earlier this week, it’s 44 months with no charges since the probe of the Oakland Democrat began. The WSJ article does have one piece of information that seems new to me, however, and it’s way down in the very last paragraph:

The investigation gained momentum over the past year, as prosecutors gathered information from political consultant Sandi Polka, a longtime ally of Mr. Perata, said people close to the defense. They said prosecutors gave her immunity from prosecution so she couldn’t invoke her Fifth Amendment right to not testify. Ms. Polka and her lawyer didn’t return calls seeking comment.

As I pointed out Monday, the campaign for Proposition 93 — the term-limit-reform measure backed by Perata and then-Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles — paid Polka more than $116,000 from August 2007 through March, and in April and May, the Perata-initiated campaign to recall state Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Merced, paid Polka about $78,000.

The East Bay Express’ Bob Gammon — the most dedicated Perata-watcher ever — hypothesized in May that perhaps the whole Denham-recall fiasco was meant as a way to throw money to Polka and perhaps to others in his circle of family and friends. Makes you wonder what Polka has been telling the feds, and whether Perata has been feeling obliged to make sure her firm keeps getting steady work…

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