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Democrats’ March Legal Madness

- March 26, 2014

TODAY, DEMOCRATS ACROSS THE COUNTRY HAVE WON SOME PRETTY HEINOUS HEADLINES FOR THEIR ACTIONS

North Carolina

Today, Charlotte’s Democrat Mayor, Patrick Cannon, Was Arrested “On Federal Public Corruption Laws After A Four-Year Investigation.” “Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon was arrested Wednesday on federal public corruption laws after a four-year investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte announced.” (Mark Washburn, Jim Morrill And Mike Gordon, “Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon Arrested On Corruption Charges,” Charlotte Observer, 3/26/14)

  • “Cannon Was Charged With Theft And Bribery After An FBI Sting Operation.” “Cannon was charged with theft and bribery after an FBI sting operation, said Anne Tompkins, U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.” (Mark Washburn, Jim Morrill And Mike Gordon, “Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon Arrested On Corruption Charges,” Charlotte Observer, 3/26/14)
  • According To The FBI, Cannon Solicited And Accepted Cash Bribes From Undercover FBI Agents Who Were Posing As Commercial Real Estate Developers And Investors. “FBI agents, working on a tip that Cannon, 47, was potentially involved in illegal activities, started an investigation in August 2010, Tompkins said in a statement. Cannon – elected mayor five months ago after a long political career in Charlotte – solicited and accepted cash bribes and other items of value from undercover FBI agents, who were posing as commercial real estate developers and investors who wanted to do business in Charlotte, Tompkins said.” (Mark Washburn, Jim Morrill And Mike Gordon, “Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon Arrested On Corruption Charges,” Charlotte Observer, 3/26/14)

“He Is The Region’s Highest-Ranking Official To Be Charged In A Corruption Case Since Former N.C. House Speaker Jim Black Of Matthews Was Charged. Both Are Democrats.” (Mark Washburn, Jim Morrill And Mike Gordon, “Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon Arrested On Corruption Charges,” Charlotte Observer, 3/26/14)

California

In California, Democrat State Sen. Leland Yee Was Arrested On Corruption Charges. “State Sen. Leland Yee was escorted into San Francisco's Federal Building wearing handcuffs after he was arrested Wednesday morning during a series of raids in the Bay Area and Sacramento. NBC Bay Area was first to report that Yee, a Democrat, was detained by federal agents on charges that include public corruption.” (Shawn Brouwer, “Sen. Leland Yee Arrested On Public Corruption Charges,” KCRA, 3/26/14) 

  • “Yee, 65, Represents California's 8th Senate District, Which Covers About Half Of San Francisco. He Is Also A Candidate For California Secretary Of State.” (Shawn Brouwer, “Sen. Leland Yee Arrested On Public Corruption Charges,” KCRA, 3/26/14) 

Pennsylvania

Today, A Pennsylvania Judge Announced That Democrat State Sen. Leanna Washington Will Go To Trial For Charges That She Spent Eight Years Using Taxpayer Resources To Organize Annual Political Fundraisers. Washington “A suburban Philadelphia judge says a corruption case against a state senator can go to trial. District Judge John Kessler ruled Wednesday that prosecutors had provided sufficient evidence to support charges that Sen. Leanna Washington used her legislative staff for eight years to organize an annual ‘birthday party’ political fundraiser on taxpayer time and using taxpayer resources.” (Marc Levy, “PA. Judge Sends State Senator’s Charges To Trial,” The Associated Press, 3/26/14) 

  • “Former Employee And Intern Jamila Carol Hall Testified Earlier At The Preliminary Hearing That, As Part Of Her Job, She Performed Numerous Tasks In Helping Organize The Party And Keep Track Of The Payments To Washington’s Campaign.”  (Marc Levy, “PA. Judge Sends State Senator’s Charges To Trial,” The Associated Press, 3/26/14) 

New York

This Morning, Federal Agents Raided The Office Of New York Democrat Assemblyman William Scarborough After Questions About Per Diem Reimbursements.  “Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the Albany office of Assemblyman William Scarborough this morning, he confirmed to reporters. Scarborough, a Queens Democrat, said the F.B.I. asked questions about the per diem reimbursements that legislators collect for each day they spend in the Capitol. Agents took papers from his offices in Albany and Jamaica, and also accosted him in his hotel room this morning.” (Jimmy Vielkind, Laura Nahmias And Jessica Alaimo, “F.B.I. Raids Scarborough’s Office Over Per Diem Questions,” Capital New York, 3/26/14)

  • “Scarborough Received $59,085 In Per Diem Payments Between 2010 And 2011. He Submitted Voucher Payments Claiming $825 For Five Nights In Albany From March 13th To March 17th 2011, While Public Records Showed He Attended A Town Meeting At York College In Jamaica Queens That Thursday.” (Jimmy Vielkind, Laura Nahmias And Jessica Alaimo, “F.B.I. Raids Scarborough’s Office Over Per Diem Questions,” Capital New York, 3/26/14)

Earlier This Month Wasn’t Much Better For Democrats – Officials Came Under Fire In Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arkansas, And California

Federal And State Officials Raided The Office And Home Of Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox (D). “On Friday, seemingly out of the blue, federal and state officers staged a daytime raid on the office and home of Gordon D. Fox, then the speaker. They carted out several boxes labeled ‘evidence’ without anyone ever explaining what was going on. On Saturday, Mr. Fox, a Democrat, announced his resignation as speaker, remaining silent on his reasons. Even now, no one has disclosed what the authorities were looking for or why Mr. Fox stepped down.” (Kathatine Q. Seelye, “Rhode Island House Elects A Speaker After An Abrupt Resignation,” The New York Times, 3/25/14)

  • One Day After The Raid, Fox Resigned As Speaker. “Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox is resigning from his leadership post and will not run for re-election, he said Saturday, a day after federal and state authorities raided his Statehouse office and home as part of a criminal investigation that they would not detail.” (Erika Niedowski and Michelle R. Smith, “Rhode Island Speaker To Step Down After FBI Raids,” The Associated Press, 3/22/14)
  • Days Later, “What The Investigators Were Looking For In Fox’s Office — And Whether They Found It — Is Still A Secret.” “But days after the fall of House Speaker Gordon Fox amid a dramatic raid of his State House office by state and federal investigators, Rhode Island is awash in unbridled speculation about what the longtime lawmaker might have done. What the investigators were looking for in Fox’s office — and whether they found it — is still a secret: The search warrants and the affidavits supporting them have been sealed by a court.” (Mark Arsenault and Travis Andersen, “R.I. Speaker’s Scandal Stuns, Fascinates Stat,” The Boston Globe, 3/25/14)

Pennsylvania AG Kathleen Kane (D) Received “Barbed Criticism” From Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams (D) For Shutting Down A String Operation That Caught Five Democrats “Accepting Money Or Gifts.” “In unusually barbed criticism of a fellow prosecutor and fellow Democrat, Philadelphia's district attorney rebuked state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane on Friday, saying she had needlessly killed a solid corruption investigation - and besmirched the prosecutors who built the case. In an op-ed to be published in The Inquirer on Sunday, Seth Williams faulted Kane for shutting down a ‘sting’ operation that caught at least five Philadelphia Democrats, including four state representatives, on tape accepting money or gifts.” (Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis, “District Attorney Williams Blasts Attorney General In Sting Case,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/23/14)

Federal Agents Raided The Home And Office Of Illinois State Representative Keith Farnham (D) Earlier This Month. “Reports that federal agents were looking for evidence of child pornography when they seized computers from the Elgin district office of former state Rep. Keith Farnham shocked local officials who said the lawmaker was well-liked and active in the community.” (Stephanie K. Baer, “Elgin Officials Shocked By Child Porn Investigation Of Ex-Rep. Farnham,” Chicago Tribune, 3/24/14)

  • According To The Federal Search Warrant, Agents Were Seeking Documents “Pertaining To The Possession, Receipt Or Distribution Of Child Pornography.” “Federal agents were searching for documents ‘pertaining to the possession, receipt or distribution of child pornography’ as well as computer files, copies and negatives of child pornography or any documents that depicted minors ‘engaged in sexually explicit conduct,’ according to a search warrant released Friday.” (Stephanie K. Baer, “Elgin Officials Shocked By Child Porn Investigation Of Ex-Rep. Farnham,” Chicago Tribune, 3/24/14)

Former Arkansas Democrat Treasurer Martha Shoffner Was Convicted Of Federal Bribery And Extortion Charges For Accepting $36,000 From A Bond Trader In Exchange For State Business.   “A jury convicted former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner of federal bribery and extortion charges Tuesday for accepting $36,000 in cash from a bond trader to whom she steered state business.” (“Federal Jury Finds Martha Shoffner Guilty Of Bribery, Extortion,” The Associated Press, 3/11/14)

California Democrats Lost Their Supermajority In The State Senate After Two Senators In Legal Trouble Took Indefinite Leaves Of Absence. “Two California state senators in legal trouble are taking indefinite leaves of absence from their jobs, rejecting Republicans’ calls for them to resign and costing Democrats their supermajority, at least temporarily. Last week, Senate Democrats voted down a GOP resolution to expel state Sen. Roderick Wright (D), who was convicted Jan. 28 of eight felony counts of voter fraud and perjury. Wright was first indicted in 2010 on charges that he lied on his voter registration form and candidate filings and committed voter fraud in five elections. State Sen. Ronald Calderon (D), who has been indicted on federal corruption charges for allegedly accepting almost $100,000 in bribes, meals and golf outings — including $88,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent — began a leave of absence last week to fight the charges.” (Reid Wilson, “Felony Allegations Cost Democrats In California Senate Their Supermajority,” The Washington Post, 3/3/14)


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