Darrell Steinberg urges Ron Calderon to resign

State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on Friday urged state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, to resign, hours after federal prosecutors announced he and his brother are charged with 24 counts involving bribery, kickbacks and cover-ups.

Here’s the full statement from Steinberg, D-Sacramento:

“I make this statement with the full support of my caucus.

“I value and respect the legal principle that a criminal defendant is innocent unless proven guilty. I also know that the Senate has an ethics code that governs the behavior of elected officials, regardless of whether they are convicted or not. Senator Calderon is entitled to his full due process in all venues. It may be difficult, if not impossible, for the Senate to conduct a full investigation of the issues contained in the indictment because the U.S. Attorney has asked us specifically not to call any witnesses who are part of their investigation.

“Given the seriousness of charges that strike at the very heart of what it means to be a public official, Senator Calderon’s continued service is a cloud over all the important work that we must get done this year. It is in the best interests of the people and the Senate if he resigns. I call on him to do so. The Senate Rules committee has already stripped him of his committee chairmanship and his committee assignments.

“At a minimum, he should take a complete leave of absence until the criminal proceedings are finished. If he does not resign, or take that leave of absence voluntarily, the Senate will seek to suspend him.”

This is quite a departure from Steinberg’s refusal just a few weeks ago to urge state Sen. Roderick Wright, D-Inglewood – convicted of eight felonies related to not living in the district he represents – to resign his seat. One could argue that the charges against Calderon are significantly more serious; one also could argue that Calderon has not yet been convicted of anything, while Wright has.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Willis James

    ” I also know that the Senate has an ethics code that governs the behavior of elected officials, regardless of whether they are convicted or not.”
    Darrell Steinberg Feb. 20, 2014

    Ethics code, Yeah right!

    Roderick Wright CONVICTED… while Steinberg and the rest of his gang keep paying for his legal bills. Even they couldn’t get him off.

    Look at the — Wright Legal Defense Fund, Taxpayers for Rod.


    Darrell Steinberg $5,000 — 11/15/2013

    MARK DESAULNIER, $5,000 — 10/28/2013


    CALIFORNIA GRAND CASINO $5000 7/15/2013

    HAWAIIAN GARDENS CASINO $7,500 12/4/2013

    THE COMMERCE HOTEL – CASINO $7,500 12/11/3013

    PG&E $10,000…. the last part 12/11/2013

    The list of huge contributions goes on and on.

    Don’t believe that all these companies decided on their own to contribute to Wright’s defense fund.

    NO… Steinberg, “Mr. Ethics” lets the word go out that money is needed and the usual suspects line up and pay their dues.

    The orchestra leader is clearly in charge.

    Interesting contribution by Mr. Clean, now running for George Miller’s congressional seat.

    I guess he really really believed that Rod Wright is squeaky clean..

    Or was squeaky clean prior to being convicted of two felonies.

    Follow the money…. always follow the money…..

    No one believes Ron Calderon or his brother are anything but up to their eyeballs in corruption. Steinberg has known that for years.

  • Elwood

    Minor correction:

    Roderick Wright was convicted of EIGHT felonies.

    But he’s a log roller, he’s OK. (with apologies to Monty Python)

  • JohnW

    Wright must have pictures or something. It’s good to have people in the legislature who have insight into the criminal justice system.

  • edwinareed

    Wright should never have been charged in the first place. There are several other questionable situations of legislators who may or likely are not living within their districts. Wright was targeted by a local politician who needed someone to run under the bus for his own personal gain. Do the research and track Southern California politics at least back to 2008 and you’ll see the whole picture. Wright is probably one of the best public servants in the legislature right now. He certainly is a wealth of knowledge on many issues for all the ‘green’ members in there right now, and it’s only going to get worse with all the musical chairs and term-limited folks leaving. Wright’s constituents evidently want him in there working for them.

  • Elwood

    Eight (8) felonies?

    Man, that must be the greatest frame job of all time!


  • JohnW

    I don’t know much about this case, but I don’t doubt edwinareed’s comment about there being other questionable residency situations. Maybe that’s the reason Wright hasn’t been pushed out of the legislature — because he could blow the whistle on others.