When state Sen. Leland Yee showed up at the Voice of OC offices last December to talk about his run for secretary of state on a platform of transparency and accountability, no one in the room could have imagined what lay in his future just three months away.
FBI officials arrested Yee on March 26, accusing him of public corruption and gun trafficking in a 137-page indictment. The 65-year old San Francisco Democrat has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.
Yee, who was known in Sacramento as both an open-government reformer and vocal gun control supporter, is accused of accepting a $10,000 bribe to make a call to the California Department of Health in support of a contractor. He’s also a central figure in accusations regarding efforts to smuggle guns.
Yee walked in to Voice of OC’s downtown Santa Ana office alone on the night of Dec. 2 without any handlers or assistants and talked about the nexus between money and politics.
At one point in the interview, Yee even stepped into the mindset of a corrupt politician to talk about what motivates elected officials who turn to the dark side.
Yee talked at length about the dangers faced by elected officials who are forced to raise large amounts of campaign cash to run for office, noting that he supports public financing of campaigns.