The principle that one is innocent until proven guilty applies to everyone, including ineffective politicians whose reputations have been damaged by the clouds of corruption that swirl around them.
Such is the case with state Senator Ron Calderón (D-Montebello), who is currently under a wave of federal investigations to determine if he has been making changing to proposed legislation for cash under the table.
The latest accusation comes from a recent news report stating that the FBI conducted an operation in which an undercover agent paid Calderón $80,000 and gave money to the senator’s children in order to get tax credits added to a bill.
This is in addition to the fact that months ago, FBI agents raided the legislator’s Sacramento office because of concerns raised by authorities about an “income stream” coming into Calderón.
The Democrat is known among his fellow politicians for his big spending and his reputation has already been tarnished for accepting all kinds of gifts from individuals whose interests are at stake in the legislature.
Certainly, these investigations are sufficient to undermine the image of Calderón’s honesty as legislator. That is why we welcome the efforts of Senate President Darrell Steinberg to temporarily suspend Calderón’s participation in legislative committees of which he is a member.
However, we believe it is premature to call for the resignation of an individual for whom formal criminal charges have not been made.
In politics even just the appearance of impropriety is itself a problem and Steinberg’s action serves as an example.
Calderón has the right to defend himself against accusations of corruption especially as no charges have been filed against him. That said, his ability to represent his district has been severely damaged. For now, the decision of whether to continue or not is in the hands of Calderón and his voters.