FBI raids Calderon's office in California

June 5, 2013 at 8:14 PM
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SACRAMENTO, June 5 (UPI) -- Officials in California say FBI agents have questioned them about state Sen. Ron Calderon's relationship to a local water board, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The comments came one day after FBI agents raided Calderon's office at the Capitol in Sacramento as part of a corruption investigation the agency says is centered on Calderon, a Democrat.

Agents reported to the Capitol Tuesday and combed through the offices of Calderon and the Latino Legislative Caucus, to which Calderon belongs, the Times said.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said a court order prevents further public disclosure about the investigation, but sources told the newspaper the probe originated in Los Angeles County.

U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., told the Times Wednesday she has heard complaints for more than 10 years from city officials in her district about questionable expenditure of funds in the Central Basin Water District. Some of the complaints have focused on Calderon and his family's ties to the water district.

Napolitano questioned the district's handling of $5.6 million in federal funds intended to build infrastructure for a regional water recycling system, the Times reported.

A Department of Energy research grant in the district was diverted from its intended recipient to a company for which Calderon's brother, former state Assemblyman Tom Calderon, worked as a consultant for $140,000 per year, the newspaper said.

Ron Calderon's attorney Mark Geragos denied his client has done anything wrong.

"The only one so far who has done anything improper is the government," Geragos said. "The government is out of control and we are going to take the appropriate action to hold them accountable. They should be ashamed of themselves."

Geragos said he plans to go to court to demand the return of Calderon's belongings.

Calderon, whose whereabouts at the time of the raid were unknown, is a member of a political family and is a controversial figure in the state Senate.

The agency's search and seizure of evidence Tuesday is the first such raid at the California Capitol in 25 years.

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