Corruption

Leland Yee, the Gun-Hating Calif. Pol. Accused of Helping Smuggle Guns, Agrees to Plea Deal

A bizarre scandal, even by political standards.

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"Get Hard II: Get Harder"
Credit: Tim Bartel

It was the craziest political scandal to hit California in a while. In March 2014, State Sen. Leland Yee, in the midst of a campaign for secretary of state, was arrested in part of a massive raid in the FBI area, accused of political corruption and helping arrange illegal firearm deals on behalf of violent group in the Philippines.

That scandal was crazy enough, but adding fuel to the fire was the fact that Yee, a Democrat, was also an open supporter of tougher gun control laws and was a proponent of legislation in California to ban the sales of violent video games to children, a law that the Supreme Court subsequently struck down as unconstitutional. Yee was a critic of games like Grand Theft Auto, even though he apparently behaved in real life like one of its characters. He took political hypocrisy to brand new heights.

Today it all ends with a plea deal. He has agreed to plead guilty of one count of racketeering in federal court and faces the possibility of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. From the Los Angeles Times:

Yee was indicted in March 2014 on charges of accepting $62,000 in campaign contributions in return for legislative favors and offering to arrange the sale of machine guns and shoulder-fired missiles to an undercover FBI agent posing as a mob figure.

Racketeering charges were added later, alleging that he attempted to extort campaign contributions from an NFL team owner and supporters of mixed martial arts.

Yee originally pleaded not guilty and remained in office on paid suspension until his term expired at the end of 2014. The three co-defendants, including Yee polticial consultant Keith Jackson, also had pleaded not guilty.

While the "sexiness" of the arms-related crime and Yee's hypocrisy got the most attention back in 2014, I previously wrote that a lot of the corruption Yee is charged with appeared pretty much to be political business as usual.

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  1. charges of accepting $62,000 in campaign contributions in return for legislative favors

    Umm… If it’s illegal to accept campaign contributions in return for legislative favors, don’t we have to arrest every state and federal legislator in the country?

    -jcr

    1. I believe you mean “get to”, not “have to.” Locking up legislators is a glorious privilege, dammit.

    2. “[…]If it’s illegal to accept campaign contributions in return for legislative favors, don’t we have to arrest every state and federal legislator in the country?[…]”

      It’s illegal to *admit* it, or we would.

    3. Umm… If it’s illegal to accept campaign contributions in return for legislative favors, don’t we have to arrest every state and federal legislator in the country?

      Well now, I could get behind that public policy.
      Imagine: a country where corruption and bribery are punished and have actual consequences for both the briber and the one receiving bribes.

  2. faces the possibility of up to 20 years in prison in a $250,000 fine

    A fine what? Custom cell?

    In any event, no one can deny he also faces the possibility of being fucked by a sheep.

    1. I hope he’s raped by a lifer the size of Long Dong Silver.

      Then I hope he gets AIDS and dies in prison.

      1. Well he arguably is guilty of much worse crimes than Ross (gun running in the Philippines probably leads to more deaths), but is already well on the path to a much lighter sentence, simply because drug related crimes involving 2 consenting adults is apparently much worse than being the most corrupt politician imaginable.

        I’m sure that a woodchipper could be used to fix this, could anyone explain to me how?

  3. Speaking of ethnic activists, now we have a fake Cherokee academic.

    1. she was widely understood by conference goers to be a Native American speaker.

      “How ya doin’, how ya doin’.”

    2. “Andrea Smith does not rep being Cherokee unless you ask her, she usually introduces herself as a ‘woman of color or Native.'”

      “Hi. I’m Andrea, a woman of color or Native. Smokem peace pipe?”

      1. “Nah, I just want the number six, with a Coke, thanks.”

    3. Meh. Ward Churchill was around years ago.

    4. Ethnic fraud is harmful to tribes and sometimes to individual real Indians if they are passed over for a fake in a job that really does call for a tribal person.”

      “No fair! I was suppose to screw someone out of a job, not get screwed out of a job!”

      1. individual real Indians

        Nice band name.

        1. individual real Indians

          In every yummy bite!

          1. Only if they’re non GMO and organic.

          2. Now with individual real Indian!

    5. Her e-mail handle, I have learned, is ‘Tsalagi’ [meaning Cherokee].

      Well, to be fair, the complete handle is Tsalagi@clintonemail.com.

    6. It’s always the Cherokee.

    7. Should have pretended to be a Mohican. Chicks dig it if they think you are the last of something.

      And pretending to be a fake Cherokee is a dumb decision. The Cherokee actually police their heritage.

      It’s like claiming to be a medal of honor winner, or a Navy seal, you can put it on your resume, and maybe HR won’t check. But if you go too far with it then you’re going to get busted.

      1. I’ve got some Cherokee blood, but it’s such a small amount that I don’t bother trying to claim any Indian heritage, much less Cherokee benefits. I did have an ex-girlfriend who’s half Cherokee, though. Me, I’m just an Okie raised on Doctor Who and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The British are so much more fascinating.

  4. I assume he was replaced with an equally anti-gun and equally hypocritical (well, couldn’t possibly equal that level of hypocrisy) Democrat.

  5. OT, but Francisco, have you read this yet? http://arstechnica.com/informa…..d-by-f-16/

    I just spotted it and it seems both unsurprising and discouraging, mostly because of the last paragraph. On the other hand, it’s not necessarily designed to win dogfights in any sense – it’s a sensor platform make for strike missions.

    1. Okay, but does the F-16 spread around as much graft and patronage as the 35? Isn’t that the only metric that matters?

      1. Currently? No.

        Historically? No, but remember that the F-16 is the world’s most popular export fighter, and the US military bought shitloads of them, so there was PLENTY of graft and patronage through its lifetime, spread over something like 30 countries.

  6. Baptists and bootleggers, man.

  7. What’s with the photo of George Takei?

    1. Oh, my! I thought it was one of those morphy-photos of W and Mitt.

  8. “He took political hypocrisy to brand new heights”
    Like Pacific Heights?

    1. Naah. That’s Pelosi and Feinstein.

      1. Of course. It’s hard to keep track of all the filth.

    2. Fuck yeah, Michael Keaton.

  9. Yee was a critic of games like Grand Theft Auto, even though he apparently behaved in real life like one of its characters.

    There’s a lefty in the GTA franchise who militates against the very thing he’s guilty of committing? Even GTA villains have some scruples.

  10. That scandal was crazy enough, but adding fuel to the fire was the fact that Yee, a Democrat, was also an open supporter of tougher gun control laws

    Wouldn’t tougher gun control increase his prices? Doesn’t seem crazy to me, seems absolutely logical.

    1. Has anyone ever earned a fortune *not* running guns, smart guy?

  11. faces the possibility of up to 20 years in prison

    over/under odds?

    1. I say he’ll never see the inside of a jail. This has all been a terribly misunderstanding.

  12. This clown actually placed third in the Secretary of State race after he had been indicted.

  13. Piece of leftist trash: Ought to be made first ambassador to Cuba.

    1. Ambassador to Somalia. Then we leave him there without Marines.

  14. Why the surprise. Democrat politicians who were vocally dry and took lots of money from ‘shine-runners are an old story. This is jist typical Democrat behavior.

  15. “Yee was a critic of games like Grand Theft Auto”

    Aside from the hypocrisy of running guns while calling for gun bans (but that’s the purpose of most regulation, isn’t it?) this anti-video game sentiment from the left burns me up.

    The left-wing blogosphere (as well as most of the mainstream media) flipped their collective lid when Wayne LaPierre made his dumb but ultimately benign comment about violent video games after Sandy Hook. From their reaction, you’d think the NRA called for the forcible confiscation of every Xbox in America.

    Yet, far-left politicians like Leland Yee, Dianne Feinstein, and many others openly call for heavy restrictions, and the left completely ignores it. Where’s the outrage over these politicians and their anti-video game views?

    Call me crazy, but it’s almost like the left will attack the NRA over any statement they make, no matter how insignificant, and no matter how much their own allies repeat the same ideas, sometimes in even more extreme forms.

    1. The left-wing blogosphere (as well as most of the mainstream media) flipped their collective lid when Wayne LaPierre made his dumb but ultimately benign comment about violent video games after Sandy Hook.

      Is Reason part of the left-wing blogosphere or the mainstream media? I vote: both.

      Ed Krayewski must think Leland Yee is a “right-winger”.

    2. Isn’t there a character in the new GTA based on Yee?

  16. What the Honorable Senator from the People’s State of California did makes perfect economic sense. As soon as the political state prohibits the sale of goods people want, the selling price increases by about 400%, all product liability and guarantees are wiped out and the cash proceeds become a tax shelter chock full of concealable liquid assets. This happened to liquor prices during Prohibition, and the corn sugar used to make moonshine became valuable precursor material sold by corporations that gleefully supported prohibitionist politicians. What hand-wringing advocates of mixed economy meddling call corruption is to economists an instance of marketing: deliberately shifting supply and demand curves to increase profits. Looter politicians call it honest graft and to cops, judges, prosecutors and attorneys it is a fountain of bribes, favors and fees.

  17. CA – simultaneously a nanny state and the nation’s capitol in ethnic enclave shadow economy.

    “Shrimp Boy” and his triad buddies should turn to plastic bags and fatty foods in the future. That’s where the money will be.

    1. s/turn to/be turned into/

  18. Just a slightly different take on Baptists and Bootleggers

  19. Scott, it’s very racist of you to accuse the distinguished senator of hypocrisy.

    1. Gay people can’t be racist.

  20. If this guy had been a Republican, the story would have received 10,000% more coverage from the mainstream media than it did.

  21. That reminds me of a plotline from the anime Gunsmith Cats. https://youtu.be/XBVAdfdym20?t=1h20m50s

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