SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ State Sen. Ron Calderon has been stripped of his committee assignments amid a federal investigation involving allegations that he accepted money in return for promoting certain bills.
The Senate Rules Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to remove the Los Angeles-area Democrat from all committees and commissions. It's believed to be the first time the committee has taken such action against a senator.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said the committee was making no judgments about Calderon's alleged conduct. Rather, he said lawmakers acted ``to uphold the standard of conduct of the Senate.''
The action comes after Al Jazeera America reported it had obtained a sealed FBI affidavit alleging Calderon accepted $88,000 in return for promoting bills. No charges have been filed and Calderon denies wrongdoing.
A spokesman for Calderon did not immediately return a request for comment after Tuesday's votes.
Calderon's spokesperson sent out an email with the senator's reaction:
"I am profoundly disappointed by the Senate Rules Committee decision to strip me of my committee assignments.
My legislative contribution as Chair of the Senate Insurance Committee stands for itself. Furthermore, my extensive work on the Senate Banking, Senate Government Organization, and Senate Environmental Quality has always been conducted with the underlying objective of protecting consumers and homeowners while strengthening the economy and creating jobs. The legislation I have authored over the past 11 years speaks volumes.
While I am defending myself against false allegations and illegal acts committed by a federal agency my commitment and resolve to continue providing the best legislative representation and the best services to my constituents remain firm. Removing me from my committee assignments sends a risky and unsuitable message regarding our fundamental constitutional rights and the Presumption of Innocence.
I have not been charged or convicted with any unjust doing, yet I am being treated by this committee and some media outlets as if I had. The appropriate action to take would be to allow me to continue the work I was elected to do and to allow me to remain on my committee assignments."