Dem gun control advocate charged with gun-running

The irony police are going to need reinforcements to handle the tsunami being generated in San Francisco. State Senator Leland Yee appeared in federal court yesterday in shackles, and faced a lengthy indictment for a series of corruption charges, including shocking allegations of gun-running – including shoulder-fired rocket launchers. An undercover FBI agent met repeatedly with Lee, a prominent gun control advocate who had authored legislation to expand the definition of “assault weapons.”  The LA Times on his gun control, activities:

 In 2006, Yee was named to the Gun Violence Prevention Honor Roll by the Brady Campaign for his efforts that included co-authoring a first-in-the-nation bill to require new semiautomatic handguns be equipped with ballistics identification technology known as micro-stamping.

In 2013, he stood with law enforcement officials and then-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to propose a bill that would regulate assault weapons.

The UK Daily Mail summarizes the indictment:

Pg. 94-95: Yee said, 'People want to get whatever they want to get. Do I care? No, I don't care. People need certain things.'

Yee told the undercover agent that he believed the more people involved in the weapons deal, the greater the chances he would be implicated.

The agent told Yee he had just as much to lose if he was caught. The agent told Yee he had a great life and would not do anything to jeopardize his lifestyle.

Yee said he was unhappy with his life and said, 'There's a part of me that wants to be like you. You know how I'm going to be like you? Just be a free agent there.'

Yee told the agent that he wanted to hide out in the Philippines. Jackson reiterated the importance of having the agent meet with the arms dealer. Yee said he would arrange for the agent to meet with the arms dealer.

Pg. 97: At a restaurant Yee told the undercover agent that he appreciated his support and said, 'I can be of help to you for eight years. I think eight years is a lot better than 10 months.' Yee said that if he lost in his bid for secretary of state he wanted to move into the private sector and exploit all of the relationships he had in Asia for various kinds of activities.

Pg. 98-99: The undercover agent asked about the availability of shoulder fired missiles or rockets. Senator Yee responded 'I told him about rocket launchers and things like that.' Senator Yee asked (the agent) to provide an inventory list of desired weapons and he would see what they can do.

Pg. 101: On March 11, 2014 the agent met with Yee, Jackson and Lim (the alleged weapons trafficker) at a restaurant and Yee said no weapons deal could take place until after the secretary of state election in November. Yee and Lim also encouraged the agent to deal in smaller amounts of weapons to avoid unwanted attention in the Philippines.

Yee also said he wouldn't go to the Philippines until November. Yee said, 'Once things start to move, it's going to attract attention. We just got to be extra-extra careful.'

On March 14, 2014, the agent met again with Yee, Jackson and an associate at a restaurant. Yee and Jackson discussed how they would break up the large sum of cash provided by the agent into legitimate campaign donations.

The Sacramento Bee adds this explosive informtaion:

Another way Yee sought to raise money for his 2014 secretary of state campaign was by promising to help undercover agents obtain illegal guns from an international arms dealer,federal authorities allege. Authorities say Yee, who has promoted gun control legislation in the Senate, helped orchestrate illegal, transnational arms deals.

Yee touted his connection to an anonymous Filipino arms broker who had funneled guns to rebel groups in the Philippines and could source guns from Russia, the affidavit says. The affidavit quotes Yee as saying, “I have seen what he has done in the past on other products and this guy has the relationships” and describing an encounter with “armed guards with machine guns” during a visit to the Philippines.

“Do I think we can make some money? I think we can make some money,” the affidavit quotes Yee as saying. “Do I think we can get the goods? I think we can get the goods.”

Later, Yee shifted to a different dealer named Wilson Lim whose “associates in the Philippines were trying to overthrow the current government and needed money,” according to the affidavit. Yee participated in detailed discussions about transporting the guns back to the U.S. and talked about the violence and unrest engulfing parts of the Philippines, it says.

Yee also faces other corruption charges (via the Sacramento Bee)

The affidavit says Chow introduced an undercover agent to Jackson, who was working to help Yee pay off $70,000 in campaign debt from his unsuccessful mayor’s race. Unknowingly, Yee turned to the FBI for contributions to pay off the debt and launch a new campaign for secretary of state, the affidavit says, accepting $10,000 in cash from an undercover agent in the process.

The affidavit alleges a string of official actions Yee took in exchange for the money. It says he called a manager with the state Department of Public Health to urge the agency to give a contract to an agent posing as a software consultant who gave him $10,000. It says he wrote a Senate proclamation honoring the Chee Kung Tong group headed by Raymond Chow in exchange for a $6,800 contribution from another agent. It says he also introduced another agent posing as a medical marijuana businessman to two state legislators working on the issue in exchange for two contributions totaling $21,000.

Yee has been dropped like a hot potato by Darrell Steinberg, the boss of the California State Senate, where he serves as President Pro Tem:

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg asked Yee to resign by Friday, saying he will strip him of all his committee assignments and move to suspend him if he doesn’t.

“Leave,” Steinberg said in a comment aimed at Yee during a meeting with reporters following the arrest. “Don’t burden your colleagues and this great institution with your troubles. Leave!”

Flanked by 16 of his fellow Democrats, Steinberg characterized the charges against Yee as “sickening” and “surreal,” comparing them to something out of a Hollywood movie. A federal affidavit released as part of the case referred to Yee as “a.k.a. Uncle Leland.”

Yee was well aware of both the illegality of what he was doing, and of the general level of corruption surrounding him in the California State Senate:

In a conversation about the arms deal in February, Yee allegedly urged caution as he dined with the undercover agent in San Francisco, because of the recent indictment of his Senate colleague, Ron Calderon.

“Senator Yee believed the other State Senator was wearing a ‘wire’ for the FBI,” the affidavit says. “Senator Yee thought the other State Senator was a classic example of involving too many people in illegal activities.”

Even as he engaged in the transactions, the affidavit says, Yee complained that the agent should not talk about tying payments to specific actions, saying “talk like that is ‘pay to play.’ ”

“He also added that contributions could not be linked to any items, bills or amendments,” the affidavit says. Despite his cautions, the affidavit says Yee and Jackson “never walked away from quid pro quo requests” made by an undercover agent.

Ed Driscoll of PJ Media pointed out yesterday the large number of recent corruption casesinvolving Democrat office holders, including:

Democrat Charlotte NC Mayor Patrick Cannon resigned today after less than six months in office, “just hours after he was arrested and accused of taking more than $48,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen who wanted to do work with North Carolina’s largest city” (snip)

Keith Farnham, 66, a Democrat Illinois state rep, resigned today. In an article dated Monday, but updated to reflect Farnham’s resignation today, the Chicago Tribune reported:

Reports that federal agents were looking for evidence of child pornography when they seized computers from the Elgin district office of former state Rep. Keith Farnham shocked local officials who said the lawmaker was well-liked and active in the community. (snip)

“Pa. State Sen. LeAnna Washington ordered to stand trial,” Philadelphia’s ABC affiliate reports today:

Pennsylvania state prosecutors won a first step Wednesday in their corruption case against state Sen. Leanna Washington, securing a judge’s ruling that they have enough evidence for a trial on charges that Washington crossed the line when she allegedly ordered taxpayer-paid employees to organize an annual “birthday party” political fundraiser. (snip)

Meanwhile, “Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the Albany office of Assemblyman William Scarborough this morning, he confirmed to reporters,” Capital New York reported, also today:

Scarborough, a Queens Democrat, said the F.B.I. asked questions about the per diem reimbursements that legislators collect for each day they spend in the Capitol. Agents took papers from his offices in Albany and Jamaica, and also accosted him in his hotel room this morning.

And, “Law enforcement officials raided the office and home of House Speaker Gordon Fox on Friday as part of a criminal investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office, FBI, IRS and state police,” AP reported:

Officials would not say who or what was being investigated, but authorities worked for hours inside the Democratic House speaker’s Statehouse office while state troopers stood outside.

Authorities entered the office carrying an evidence bag and empty cardboard boxes Friday morning. Fox’s spokesman, Larry Berman, said state police had asked everyone working in the office to leave but he didn’t know why.

It’s time to start reminding voters of the “culture of corruption” in today’s Democratic Party.

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