Saturday, November 2, 2013

In California and Washington, scandal spreads, government stumbles on

President Obama pauses while speaking at the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit in Washington on Thursday. (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg / October 31, 2013)
    A little tour of political news:
    In Los Angeles, a former aide to City Councilman Jose Huizar filed a lawsuit alleging that he had harassed and punished her when she refused to provide sexual favors. (Not true, the married councilman said; it was a consensual affair.) Another former council aide has filed a lawsuit alleging that a second councilmember, Mitch Englander, not only allowed a harassing environment to exist in his office but also took part with inappropriate remarks. (He denied it.)
    In Sacramento, an FBI affidavit was said to claim that state Sen. Ronald Calderon (D-Montebello) had accepted more than $60,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents, allegations first reported Wednesday by the Al Jazeeratelevision network.
    By Thursday morning, as Calderon’s attorney was pleading his innocence, other legislators were scrambling to avoid being sucked into the quicksand. State Senate leader Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento took issue with Calderon’s claim that as a favor he had hired an unqualified woman onto the Senate staff. (The woman, unbeknown to any legislator, was an undercover FBI agent.)
    In Washington, Republicans and Democrats showed no signs of abating their partisan tit-for-tat, most recently at a congressional hearing Wednesday where Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was raked over the coals for the balky opening of the federal website. The meeting was replete with multiple references to Kansas—Sebelius is a former governor of the state, which means she deals with mentions of Dorothy and Toto and not being in Kansas anymore the way Californians bear the cross of flakiness, blond hair and surfers.

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