INGLEWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Three Republican senators want to expel State Sen. Roderick Wright from the Legislature.
Wright (D-Inglewood) was convicted of eight felony counts of voter fraud and perjury last month after a jury found he did not live in his district and lied about it to his constituents.
Wright announced this week that he would take a leave of absence with full pay for an undetermined period of time.
The GOP state senators, however, said that’s not good enough.
“I represent almost a million people and they’re wondering why a convicted felon can sit on the Senate,” Sen. Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) said.
Vidak said this is a very simple and straightforward case.
“He’s been convicted of eight felonies, and this is a paid vacation, and he can return for any time to come and make a vote. I don’t think it’s responsible,” he said.
Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) is one of the co-sponsors of the resolution to expel Wright.
“We want to be heard. We want to have a vote. And we want everybody to see where we stand on the issue,” he said.
KCAL9’s Dave Bryan reported that some Republicans are asking why State Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg threw the book at Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) when he was indicted on corruption charges, but is taking it easy on Wright.
Steinberg was visibly upset about the Wright conviction.
“It’s a punch to the gut. We hold Sen. Wright in high regard,” he told the Sacramento Bee.
Doug Jeffe, a public affairs consultant, said Wright’s conviction isn’t even close to the seriousness of the corruption allegations against Calderon.
“To me, it’s like saying…equating bribery with speeding. The question to me is not whether you have to reside in the district to be up to date on the problems of the district…it’s your performance. What sleeping with the district has to do with it, I don’t know,” he said.
Steinberg released a statement Wednesday night about the Calderon and Wright situations.
He said the Senate leadership has dealt swiftly and decisively with the issues raised by the two cases. He said they respected the law and safeguarded the integrity of the Senate. Steinberg said if the Republican resolution to expel Wright comes to the floor, it will be addressed.