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Feds Indict California Politician Who They Say Took Bribes To Alter The State’s Film & TV Tax Credit Program

By | Friday February 21, 2014 @ 2:56pm PST

Ron CalderonCalifornia State Sen. Ron Calderon is facing federal charges in a wide-ranging corruption case that includes allegedly accepting bribes from FBI agents posing as movie executives. Authorities today filed a 24-count criminal indictment against the veteran politician that also includes allegations of money laundering and tax fraud. Among the charges is that Calderon, D-Montebello, whose office was raided by the FBI in the summer, took tens of thousands of dollars california-tax-credits3__120901092343__120929195413__131031165021__131112185634__140109040050from undercover agents to make changes to the state’s $100 million Film and TV tax credit program. Authorities say he agreed in early 2012 to help an agent posing as the owner of a downtown LA film studio to lower from $1 million to $750,000 the budget required as a minimum under the program to qualify for credits. While that never ended up part of the latest tax credit legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on September 30, 2012, Calderon allegedly assured the undercover agents he would work to get the minimum reduced in the 2013 legislative session. No such change has occurred. The senator also is said to have taken $60,000 in bribes starting in February 2012 from the fake studio owner. And Calderon’s daughter supposedly was paid $27,000 to work for the fake studio, though she never put in a day.

Related: California Pols Unveil Bill To Expand Credit Program
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UPDATE: State Politician Tossed From Film Commission After Bribery Allegations

UPDATE, 1:14 PM: The state Senate leader has removed Ron Calderon from the California Film Commission in the wake of allegations in an FBI affidavit of bribery and influence peddling of the state’s $100 million Film and TV tax credit program. “If for no other reason, the appearance of impropriety dictates that the senator no longer sit on that commission,” President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said yesterday after details of Calderon’s supposed actions were made public. Steinberg added that regardless of whether the claims — first revealed by Al Jazeera America — turn out to be true, he doubted that one person could change the state’s film and TV tax credit program the way Calderon is said to have told an undercover FBI agent he could. Steinberg also told reporters Thursday that any effort by Montebello Democrat to drop the $1 million minimum budget requirements for a film to eligible to qualify for the program down to $750,000 was never brought up in committee talks. Additionally, the FBI has asked the DOJ to look into how the sealed affidavit got out. 

PREVIOUSLY, OCT. 31 AM: California State Sen. Ron Calderon took tens of thousands of dollars from undercover FBI agents to make changes to the state’s $100 million Film and TV tax credit program, according to Al Jazeera America. Citing a sealed FBI affidavit, the channel aired a report Wednesday providing details into the well-known investigation of the influential state politician.
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