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California Senate erases websites of three suspended lawmakers

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POSTED April 7, 2014 7:08 p.m.

SACRAMENTO (AP) — The California Senate has erased the names and online archives of three suspended lawmakers entangled in criminal cases.

The Senate removed pictures, video clips and legislative archives over the weekend involving Democratic Sens. Rod Wright of Los Angeles, Ron Calderon of Montebello and Leland Yee of San Francisco.

All that remains on the websites is information about their Senate districts.

The three men have lost the rights and privileges of a senator, which include having a Senate-maintained website, said Mark Hedlund, a spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.

Hedlund said Monday that the removal was consistent with steps that would be taken if a lawmaker lost an election or left office through resignation or term limits. He said the voting records of Wright, Calderon and Yee can still be researched through the Legislature’s website, but their press releases and statements are gone.

The public can also track their voting and campaign finance data through MapLight, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics.

Wright was convicted for lying about living inside his district. Calderon faces federal corruption charges after authorities said he accepted $100,000 in bribes for friends and family in exchange for legislation, and Yee was charged with accepting bribes and orchestrating weapons and drug trafficking to help pay off campaign debts.

Last month, the Senate voted to suspend the lawmakers. Gov. Jerry Brown has called on them to resign.

The three continue to receive their $95,291 annual salaries but are not collecting a daily expense allowance.

Lawmakers have been trying to distance themselves from the three suspended senators, and several have proposed legislation aiming to restore public trust in government by untangling the web of money and politics.

Last week Steinberg canceled a high-profile golf fundraiser at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, saying it would be inappropriate in the wake of the criminal charges. Ticket packages ranged from $15,000 to $65,000.

Legislative staff members continue to serve constituents in Senate districts 8, 30 and 35, but workers no longer answer the telephone using the senators’ names. Laptops have also been removed from the suspended lawmakers’ desks on the Senate floor.

The deleting of the lawmakers’ information was initially reported by CalNewsroom.com on Sunday.

 

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