And they say that irony is dead. California Democrat state Sen. Leland Yee (San Francisco) is probably best known nationally for his attempts at ratcheting up gun control. But something just doesn’t add up. Why would a strong gun control advocate find himself taking part in a crime ring accepting cash to arrange a meeting for someone he thought was an arms trafficker? Allegedly.
The LA Times must have had to choke back tears while writing this story.
The indictment alleges Yee and Jackson defrauded “citizens of honest services” and were involved in a scheme to traffic firearms in exchange for thousands in campaign donations to the senator.
Federal prosecutors also allege Yee agreed to perform official acts in exchange for the money, including one instance in which he introduced a businessman to state legislators who had significant influence over pending medical marijuana legislation. In exchange, the businessman — who was actually an undercover FBI agent — agreed to donate thousands to Yee’s campaign fund, according to the indictment.
The indictment also describes an August 2013 exchange in which Jackson told an undercover officer that Yee had an arms trafficking contact. Jackson allegedly said Yee could facilitate a meeting for a donation.
Chow, who has been connected over the years to the criminal gang Wo Hop To and is known as “Shrimp Boy,” was indicted for money laundering, conspiracy to receive and transport stolen property, and conspiracy to traffic contraband cigarettes.
The indictment was unsealed in federal court in downtown San Francisco after FBI and other law enforcement officials carried out multiple raids early Wednesday. FBI agents also searched Yee’s Sacramento office Wednesday.
San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr described the raids to KCBS as “massive.”
“Hundreds of officers are involved in this,” he said.
The San Jose Mercury News finds Yee’s arrest “stunning.” So stunning that it may even hurt his political career.
In a stunning development that almost certainly torpedoes Yee’s quest for statewide office, the San Francisco Democrat wound up glum and disoriented in a federal courtroom Wednesday. The politician who introduced anti-gun-violence legislation is now charged with trafficking in firearms and public corruption in an FBI undercover operation that could land him in prison for years.
Yee is running for California secretary of state. He’s a Democrat. They’ll probably let him run from jail, and he’s likely to win. A fellow Dem entrenched in academia is already blaming the system.
[Democrat secretary of state candidate Derek] Cressman, a former director of Common Cause, said the Yee case is a “wake-up call,” coming on the heels of criminal charges against state Sens. Ronald Calderon and Roderick Wright.
“We are clearly beyond the point of looking at one bad apple and instead looking at a corrupt institution in the California Senate,” Cressman said. “The constant begging for campaign cash clearly has a corrosive effect on a person’s soul and the only solution is to get big money out of our politics once and for all.”
No axe to grind there.
Yee is also known for taking offense when talk radio titan Rush Limbaugh mocked China’s president. Yee organized a boycott to try to get Limbaugh off the air. It went nowhere, but did enlist the support of government workers union AFSCME, and the California Nurses Association among others.