The California Judiciary as well as the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals has always been peppered with activists who believe that the courts should usurp the powers of the legislature in order to make law from the bench rather than fulfilling their mandate of interpreting existing law. Often to the amusement of the rest of the nation which considers California to have more nuts and flakes than the granola the “perfect people for a perfect planet” consume in a given year.
So I find it highly ironic that one of the featured speakers at Monday’s (July 14, 2008) Judicial Council of California forum on "Preserving Impartial Courts in California” will be Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata who is under FBI investigation for political corruption.
How a judicial organization that prides itself on impartiality and avoiding the appearance of impropriety can solicit the views of a person of less than sterling character while he is still under investigation is one of those mysteries of California politics. Like the democrats blaming corrupt Bush United States Attorneys for investigating Perata because he is a democrat and yet saying absolutely nothing when the same U.S. Attorneys prosecuted San Diego Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham for selling political favors.
It should be said that even at his corrupt worst, Duke Cunningham was far more honorable than the democrats … he had a menu of bribes offered to all comers and actually kept his part of the bargain in providing “quid pro quo” benefits. Apparently not like the democrats who will sell out anybody if a better offer appears. (Note to the serious readers: I am being facetious.)
Grasping for continued access to money and power?
Even though Don Perata was termed out of the California legislature and will be leaving in a few months, he is said to be running for another governmental position – as a member of the California State Board of Equalization. The agency which administers California State’s tax and assessment programs and collects business taxes. A powerful position when one considered the nature of the tax appeals process and the ability to offer some form of tax relief or forgiveness in negotiated settlements.
Or something more sinister?
Many well-versed politicians find it extremely odd that a man who held one of the top legislative offices in California’s legislature would deign to run for a comparitively backwater position.
Why set up a campaign committee, Taxpayers for Perata, now and seek campaign contributions from state’s most powerful companies and political action committees already beholden to you – before you leave office?
Especially for a Board of Equalization campaign in 2010?
And especially when you are currently demanding that California citizens pay more, not less, taxes?
Could it be that he needs these funds for his legal defense ?
It is no secret that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launched a multi-pronged investigation into allegations that Perata allegedly received kickbacks and maintained inappropriate business relationships with members of his family.
According to published reports …
“In late 2004, the FBI launched a massive investigation into allegations that Perata illegally received kickbacks funneled through Lily Hu, an Oakland lobbyist and Perata associate. Federal investigators are also examining the business practices of Perata's son Nick, his business partner Timothy Staples, and Sandy Polka, a longtime associate and spokeswoman for Perata's ‘Board of Equalization campaign.’"
A sham campaign committee?
“According to documents filed with the Secretary of State, the Don has transferred $274,000 from his Board of Equalization war chest into his legal defense fund.”
“Telecommunication firms, public utilities, credit-card companies, health insurance providers, and Sacramento political action committees have donated a small fortune to a committee that was supposedly set up to elect Perata to an obscure state office. That same money is actually being used to help the president of the state Senate defend himself against a federal corruption probe.”
Don’t do as I do, Do as I say …
“[Perata’s] state-owned HEMI Charger, you see, was fitted with a set of 22" Panther wheels that are straight blingin'. So incongruous was the mental image of Perata rolling on deuce deuces that the police officer taking the carjacking call had to confirm what he'd heard, asking, "We're talking about the suspect's car or the senator's car?"
This is the type of man who is a rabid defender of harsh gun control for everybody else, but who had a concealed carry permit – ostensibly because his popular positions enraged fellow Californians. Too bad he wasn’t packing a piece when his car was carjacked in 2007. One police officer apparently was confused when his fellow officers were speaking about a tricked out Dodge Charger with fancy rims and he had to be told that they were speaking of the California-owned car rather than the carjacker’s vehicle.
Is there any wonder why California is facing a $16 BILLION deficit?
“It was mid-December 2000, and the state senator had just dropped $43,600 on an oversize luxury suite at the Oakland Coliseum for a single afternoon of festivities.”
“Perata paid for the box, and the bash, from the treasury of one of his political campaigns. Since the state senator often transfers cash from one campaign to another, it is difficult to determine its exact origin, but public records suggest that most of it came from the Three Rs, a fund-raising committee Perata formed with then-Mayor Jerry Brown a year earlier to improve Oakland schools. The same month as the Raiders party, Perata transferred the remaining $32,668 from the Three Rs into his main Senate account and paid for the luxury box. In other words, money raised to help Oakland schoolchildren likely was spent on crab, wine, and football for a bunch of rich people.”
“Perata also uses money from his campaigns to shower gifts on his donor friends, colleagues, lobbyists, and staffers. He shops at Macy's and Nordstrom or buys expensive luggage, monogrammed pens, and upscale office supplies. Public records show he also creates dubious campaign committees and milks them for cash. "Clearly, the campaign money is not being used for re-election purposes," said Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles and former general counsel of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. ‘It's being used to maintain a lifestyle and create an image.’"
Legal only because of California’s lax reporting standards which aid and abet political fraud …
“It's nonetheless legal, on paper at least. Although state and federal law bar politicians from enriching themselves with campaign funds, lax reporting rules make it virtually impossible to tell whether expenditures are for legitimate campaign needs or for personal use. Perata and other politicians easily exploit this loophole by calling an expensive dinner a ‘meeting’ or ‘travel.’ Perata even uses these types of labels when he charges everyday items such as groceries, wine, and coffee to his campaign accounts.”
The ART of politics …
“But just so's we're clear, the Don has done nothing illegal — at least not until the FBI proves otherwise. He can set up a committee to run for an office that anyone who knows his career could not possibly expect him to be satisfied with. He can set up the committee four years before the election, long before any other politician would do so. He can take almost three hundred thousand dollars contributed for the express purpose of helping him run for office, and he can quietly redirect it to a fund set up to help him fight a federal investigation on charges that he accepted kickbacks and laundered illegal proceeds. And he never has to return the money. It's all perfectly legal. It's even a work of art, if you like that sort of thing”
What can YOU do?
Avoid re-electing politicians who are under investigation or who have apparently enriched themselves at taxpayer expense.
Avoid re-electing professional politicians who make a point of living off the public teat. Tom McClintock comes to mind in this instance.
Keep rotating politicians out of office on a regular basis, no matter how popular, as once they become accustomed to the ins-and-outs of the political lifestyle, they become corrupt. Even when they are apparently doing good works on behalf of the people – having one eye open for your own cut is downright immoral and sometimes illegal – even under self-voted rules which avoid financial and voting transparency.
Take care of yourself first before donating to political campaigns. Watch for those big companies or individuals who donate campaign funds to see exactly what they are receiving in return.
Discuss politics with your family, friends and neighbors.
Vote – it’s your fault that these political bozos are still in office. $16 BILLION dollars worth!
Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.
Quote of the day: “An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.” -- H. L. Mencken
A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…
The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS