A flood of corruption scandals involving state and local Democratic Party lawmakers is threatening to muddy the party’s image as it enters what was already a tough election cycle.
In a week Democrats won’t soon forget, the Democrat-dominated California Senate took the unprecedented step Friday of voting 28-1 to suspend with pay three state senators in their own party accused or convicted of criminal conduct.
PHOTOS: Democrats behaving badly: Scandals taint party in a tough election year
State Sen. Leland Yee was arrested Wednesday on federal gun trafficking and corruption charges. Sen. Ron Calderon pleaded not guilty Feb. 24 to charges of influence-peddling, and Sen. Roderick Wright was convicted Jan. 28 of perjury and voter fraud.
None of the state senators has resigned from office, although Mr. Yee has pulled out of the race for California secretary of state.
“One is an anomaly, two a coincidence, but three? That’s not what this Senate is about,” California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said to lawmakers before the suspension vote.
Meanwhile, Patrick Cannon, the Democratic mayor of Charlotte, N.C., resigned Wednesday after he was charged with accepting more than $48,000 in bribes during an FBI sting operation. In Rhode Island, the Democrat-led state legislature voted to replace former House Speaker Gordon Fox, who stepped down after the FBI raided his home and office.