Scott Shackford on Leland Yee's Less Sexy Protectionist Corruption


Steve Rhodes / photo on flickr

When the details of the charges levied against Democratic California State Sen. Leland Yee were released, all eyes zeroed in on the gun-smuggling accusations. It made sense to do so—Yee was a notable advocate for tougher gun control, and yet he stands accused of offering assistance in smuggling guns and heavy weapons from a violent group in the Philippines to the United States.

There was more against Yee than the gun charges, though. He stands accused of more conventional legislative corruption, charged with taking money in exchange for access or support. Buried at the end of the 137-page FBI report was an undercover effort to snag Yee that doesn't highlight a crime so much as how the sausage of legislation is made, particularly laws that protect crony capitalists. Reason's Scott Shackford takes a look at a sting designed to get Yee to endorse a protectionist law for big medical marijuana dispensaries that looks more like business as usual than any sort of corruption.