State Sen. Ron Calderon.
State Sen. Ron Calderon.

Three weeks after a leaked FBI affidavit rocked California’s political community with claims state Sen. Ron Calderon accepted $60,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent disguised as a movie producer, the embattled Democrat is punching back with startling claims of his own.

Calderon claims the FBI is targeting him because he refused to participate in a “sting operation” aimed at Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. He filed a complaint against the FBI and US Attorney’s office in federal court Wednesday.

“Senator Calderon was given a wire to wear and was asked to record his communications with Senator Steinberg and Senator (Kevin) de Leon,” the complaint claims. Calderon says he turned down eight different requests to wear a wire, and only after he refused to participate did FBI agents move forward with a June raid on his Sacramento office.

“It is clear that the FBI and/or (The U.S. Attorney) engaged in a campaign to smear the reputation of Senator Calderon and convict him in the press and public,” the complaint alleges. You can read the full document below.

Calderon’s filing comes a day after the Senate Rules Committee temporarily stripped him of his committee assignments.  “This is obviously in response to the action the Rules Committee and I took to temporarily remove Senator Calderon from Senate committees,” said Steinberg in a statement issued by his office. “The filing is pure fantasy.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office isn’t commenting on Calderon’s claims.

Read the full complaint here:

Calderon Claims Feds Asked Him To Wear Wire 14 November,2013Scott Detrow

  • Marga

    So,reading between the lies, this is what I get. Tell me if you agree.

    – The FBI got some dirt on Steinberg, de Leon and Calderon. That dirt, however, did not amount to “evidence”, perhaps because it came from illegally recorded phone calls and intercepted e-mails.

    – To get some actual evidence they could use in court, they set up a sting against Calderon that had him trading political favors for money.

    – Did they also set up sting operations against Steinberg and de Leon? It’d be interesting to find out. If so, they were unsuccessful.

    – Whatever the FBI thinks Steinberg and de Leon are up to is much bigger than Calderon, so they decided to blackmail Calderon with the stuff they got on him during the sting operation, to use him to set up the other two.

    – Calderon at first decided to go along with the FBI request (he accepted the wires), but then thought better of it and decided to not go along with this.

    – The FBI retaliated as he describes.

    What I find most disturbing about this is the possibility that the FBI is gathering evidence against elected officials (and maybe even manufacturing it), for the purpose of blackmail. Look, if they are willing to blackmail a Senator into setting up other Senators, what else are they willing to do?

    Forget about Calderon, Steinberg and de Leon – we need to investigate the FBI.


Scott Detrow

Sacramento bureau chief Scott Detrow covers state government, politics and policy for KQED News and its statewide news program, The California Report.

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