SACRAMENTO -- With the state Legislature being rocked by scandal after scandal, the leader of the Senate has assembled a group of lawmakers to come up with recommended changes in state ethics and campaign laws, officials announced Monday.
The Senate Ethics Working Group was formed by Senate President Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) amid a series of controversies including:
-- Allegations in a leaked FBI affidavit that Sen. Ronald S. Calderon (D-Montebello) accepted bribes to affect legislation.
-- A jury's finding that Sen. Roderick D. Wright (D-Inglewood) is guilty of eight felony counts of perjury and voter fraud for lying when he said he lived in his senate district when he ran for office.
-- An administrative law judge's recommendation of $40,000 in fines against Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto) and two Republican county committees for allegedly laundering campaign contributions to the 2008 Assembly campaign of his brother, Bill Berryhill.
-- A state Fair Political Practices Commission staff decision to fine lobbyist Kevin Sloat and his firm a record $133,500 for improperly providing campaign contributions to Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers including Steinberg.