Freedom of Information Is Supreme


The dates at the beginning of each listing are approximate. Access to the links may be restricted.


1975: Lieutenant Governor Ed Reinecke, convicted of perjury and sentenced to 18 months in prison as part of the Watergate investigation. He resigned one day before his sentencing, which was overturned on appeal because “the Senate Judiciary Committee before which he was accused of perjuring himself had failed to publish its rule permitting a one-man quorum.”

Ronald J. Ostrow, “Prosecutor Decides Not to Appeal Reinecke Case,” Los Angeles Times, February 4, 1976, page 19

524 F.2d 435 United States of America v. Howard Edwin Reinecke, Appellant


2011–12: Assembly Member Mary Hayashi, who pleaded guilty to shoplifting from a Neiman-Marcus store.

Tony Van Oot, “Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi Arrested for Shoplifting,” Sacramento Bee, October 28, 2011

2010: State Senator Roy Ashburn, convicted of drunk driving after pleading no contest.

Wyatt Buchanan, “Lawmaker Pleads No Contest to Drunk Driving,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 15, 2010.

2008–13: State Senator Roderick Wright, charged with two counts of perjury, one count of filing a false declaration of candidacy and five counts of voting fraud. A grand jury accused him of lying about his address when he filed to run for office in 2008. Two of the charges were dismissed by a judge in March 2011 but the others were maintained.

Jean Merl, “Court Dismisses Two of Eight Charges Against State Sen. Roderick Wright,” Los Angeles Times, March 4, 2011

Trial was scheduled by Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy for July 15, 2013.

Nick Green, “Trial Date Set for California State Sen. Rod Wright on Voter Fraud Charges,” Daily Breeze, April 23, 2013.

1990-94: An FBI investigation called Shrimpscam or BRISPEC targeted corruption in the California legislature. Five convictions were obtained.

1. Senator Alan Robbins resigned on November 21, 1991, in advance of pleading guilty to federal racketeering charges in connection with insurance-industry bribes., November20. 1991, Associated Press, “State Senator From California Facing Raceteering Charges”

“Robbins Sentencing Delayed by ‘Glitch,'”  Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1992

2. Senator Joseph B. Montoya was convicted in April 1990 of rackeetering, extortion and money laundering and was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison.

“State Senator Joseph Montoya Extortion Racketeering and Money Laundering,” Orlando Sentinel, February 3, 1990

Richard C. Paddock, “Montoya Convicted on 7 Corruption Charges,” Los Angeles Times, February 3, 1990

3. Senator Frank Hill and his aide were found guilty of corruption and money laundering and sentenced to 46 months in prison (1994).

“Judge Rejects Former Sen. Hill’s Bid to Remain Free on Bail Pending Appeal,” Los Angeles Times, September 27, 1994

4. State Assemblyman Pat Nolan. guilty, served 29 months for bribery.

Jennifer Warren, “He Found a Calling in Prison,” Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2007

5. Board of Equalization member Paul B. Carpenter was found guilty of 11 counts of obstruction of justice and money laundering. (1993).

David Haldane, “Former Legislator Went to Prison,” Los Angeles Times, January 24, 2002

1939 and after: Fred E. Stewart and William G. Bonelli, members of the State Board of Equalization, indicted by a Los Angeles grand jury in November 1939 on charges of soliciting bribes in a $10 million “annual liquor license pay-off scandal.” Charges against Stewart were later dismissed, and Bonelli fled to Mexico, where he died in November 1970.

1928–29: Willard E. Badham, legislator in the 72nd Assembly District, Los Angeles, accused of failing to file his primary election expense report within fifteen days after the 1928 election, dismissed in municipal court on the grounds that only the Legislature had jurisdiction over the case and that the law under which he was charged was unconstitutional, 1929.

“Dismissal Ends Badham’s Case,” Los Angeles Times, November 7, 1929, page A-8

1905: State Senators Harry Bunkers and Frank French  of San Francisco County, E.J. Emmons of Kern County, and Eli Wright of Santa Clara County, accused of soliciting and receiving bribes in connection with an investigation into building and loan associations. Bunkers and Emmons were found guilty and served time in prison. French was found innocent after a trial, and Wright fled the country, returning only after the indictment against him was dismissed.

“Grand Jury Indicts Four Boodling State Senators,” San Francisco Call, February 10, 1905, page 1

“Arraigned on Bribery Charge,” Los Angeles Herald, February 19, 1905, page 1

“Prison Doors Are Opened to Emmons,” San Francisco Call, November 18, 1909, page 4

1891–92: Assemblyman Elwood Bruner of Sacramento County, accused of soliciting bribes. Charges were dropped when juries would not convict.

“Bruner’s Case Before the Supreme Court to Be Heard,” San Francisco Chronicle, November 10, 1891, page 6

“Boodler Bruner,” Los Angeles Times, October 22, 1891, page 1

“Boodle Wins,” Los Angeles Times, December 13, 1891, page 1

“Split on Bruner,” Los Angeles Times, April 16, 1892, page 1

“Bruner and M’Call: Warrants Issued for the Arrest of the Assemblyman for Bribery,” Los Angeles Times, April 29, 1892

“Bruner Goes Free,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 4, 1893, page 4

1891: State Senator William H. Williams of San Francisco, charged with receiving $1,000 to influence his vote on a bill to reassess railroads, $500 for his vote on a measure to create Riverside County and $250 for selling his vote on the Pilot bill.

“The Grand Jury: It Presents Four More Indictments,” San Francisco Chronicle, November 7, 1891, page 10

1891: State Senator Thomas D. Harp of Tuolumne, Merced and Stanislaus counties, indicted for malfeasance.

 “The Grand Jury: A Democratic Senator Is Missing,” San Francisco Chronicle, October 28, 1891

 “The Grand Jury: Senator Harp Indicted for Malfeasance,” San Francisco Chronicle, October 31, 1891, page 2

“The Missing Harp,” San Francisco Chronicle, November 8, 1891, page 17

 1890–91: State Assemblyman James M. Damron, charged along with Los Angeles Justice of the Peace Walter C. Lockwood with forgery of a promissory note and discounting it at a bank. He was arrested on two other counts of forgery as well. He was acquitted on the promissory-note charge by a jury that deliberated only twenty minutes. He was charged with three additional counts of forgery in January 1891, and this case resulted in a hung jury.  A new trial brought the same result.  The charges were finally dismissed in September 1891.

“Again Arrested: Third Charge of Forgery Against J.M. Damron,” Los Angeles Times, July 20, 1890, page 3

“Damron Acquitted,” Los Angeles Times, November 14, 1890, page 3

 “Another Sensation: Three New Charges of Forgery Against Damron,” Los Angeles Times, January 29, 1891, page 2

“Seven to Five: Another Hung Jury in the Damron Case,” Los Angeles Times, February 22, 1891, page 3

 “Seven to Five: The Way the Damron Jury Stood,” Los Angeles Times, April 30, 1891, page 2

 “A General Cleaning Up,” Los Angeles Times, September 9, 1891, page 3


In March 2013, a federal grand jury in San Francisco charged Federico Buenrostro Jr., who was chief executive officer of the California Public Retirement System (CalPers) from 2002 until June 2008, with falsifying documents and other counts in a long-running influence-peddling and bribery investigation.

The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged in a 2012 civil lawsuit that Buenrostro, working with CalPers board member Alfred Villalobos, fabricated documents to trick investment firm Apollo Global Management into paying fees to Villalobos’ firms for helping sell securities.

The documents had a fake CalPERS logo and gave Apollo the false impression that the pension system, before investing, had properly reviewed and signed fee disclosure letters, the SEC said.

Paul Elias, “Fred Buenrostro, Ex-CalPers CEO, Charged With Fraud,” Huffington Post, March 18, 2013


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