Three California state senators were suspended with pay Friday as Democrats in Sacramento scramble to show the public that they are trying to deal with what is beginning to look like a culture of corruption.
The trio, Leland Yee of San Francisco, Ron Calderon of Montebello and Rod Wright of Baldwin Hills, have become an embarrassment, and that goes especially for Yee, who was arrested Wednesday in an DBI sweep that involved an investigation into alleged corruption, wire fraud, bribery and gun trafficking. Yee is one of the state’s leading gun control proponents who allegedly was trying to raise money to pay off a $70,000 campaign debt while also building a campaign war chest to become California’s next Secretary of State.
Yee was honored in 2006 by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, when he was pro tem speaker of the California Assembly. Last October, he was campaigning hard for passage of a new restrictive gun law that would have banned a device that makes ownership of AR-15 rifles legal. At the time he issued a press release stating, “California’s Assault Weapons Ban has protected the public for decades. But we must work to make sure that it is capable of dealing with new threats that face California.”
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Yet as recently as mid-March, Yee was allegedly trying to set up an illicit arms trafficking deal with a man he thought to represent an organized crime family in New Jersey, but was in reality an FBI undercover agent. The case has caused no small amount of embarrassment for anti-gunners, who are scrambling for damage control and to find a new leader.
Calderon was indicted a month ago, also on charges of corruption, while Wright has already been found guilty of perjury, but is now waiting to see whether the judge in that case accepts or rejects the verdict, according to the Sacramento Bee.
The common denominator in all of these cases appears to be money, and that brings the focus on a Seattle, Washington-based gun control group that has found a new ploy to raise money to support its campaign for adoption of a gun control initiative. They’ve made Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, their new bogeyman.
In an e-mail money appeal that also announced a June 2 “campaign kickoff” event in Seattle – where even more money will be sought – an image of Gottlieb was included as an example of so-called “gun lobbyists” who prevented the Legislature from adopting Initiative 594, an 18-page measure purporting to be a “universal background check” initiative.
Gottlieb heads the campaign for an alternative measure, Initiative 591, which would prevent government gun seizures without due process, and protects the state’s current adherence to the national instant check system and existing federal law on firearms sales and transfers.
It may be coincidence or not, but Gottlieb has been a vocal critic of I-594 and was also first out of the gate Wednesday with criticism of Yee as a hypocrite for his alleged involvement in a gun trafficking scheme.
Friday morning, Gottlieb said the new slogan for the gun prohibition lobby should be “Guns for Yee, but not for thee.”
Learn more by reading Seattle Gun Rights Examiner.