SACRAMENTO, May 5 (UPI) -- Six California legislators campaigning for re-election have been arrested in the last two years, records show.
Tracy Westen, chief executive of the Center for Governmental Studies, a non-profit organization that promotes open government, sees the arrest records of the six legislators as disheartening.
"The people responsible for passing our laws should feel themselves under a special obligation to comply with those laws," Westen told the Los Angeles Times. "Apparently, a number do not."
The six legislators with active campaigns and recent arrests are:
State Sen. Rodrick Wright, who pleaded not guilty to eight felony counts including voter fraud and perjury for allegedly lying by saying he lived in his Senate district while running for office.
When asked about the charges against him, Wright replied, "All I can do is present my record of what I plan to do next year, and people will either accept that or reject that."
Former Sen. Richard Alacron, who is running for the state Assembly, was charged Tuesday on 18 counts, including voter fraud and perjury. The charges are very similar to Wright's. Alacron has pleaded not guilty.
Assemblyman Martin Garrick, who is raising money to run for state Senate in 2014, pleaded no contest to drunken driving charges in July 2011.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly pleaded no contest last month to two misdemeanor charges for allegedly attempting to take a loaded gun onto a commercial airliner. Donnelly is running for re-election.
William Jahn, one of Donnelly's challengers, called the charges "a huge embarrassment to responsible gun owners like myself."
Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi pleaded no contest in January to charges of shoplifting some $2,500 worth of clothing from Neiman Marcus. Hayashi is raising money to run for state Senate in 2014.
Assemblyman Robert Hernandez, arrested March 27 for driving erratically in a state vehicle, has not yet entered a plea to charges of drunken driving. Hernandez is running for re-election and has apologized for his actions, chalking them up to "bad judgment."