4 Democratic lawmakers either arrested or raided by the FBI in quick succession
Three Democratic lawmakers were either arrested or had their office raided Wednesday by the FBI.
Two of the Democrats, including Charlotte, N.C. Mayor Patrick Cannon, were charged in connection with FBI stings that caught them allegedly taking bribes from undercover agents. Coupled with an FBI raid that led to the resignation of a prominent Democratic lawmaker in Rhode Island this past weekend, four Democrats have recently come under the FBI’s radar.
Here are the four:
New York state assemblyman
The FBI raided Democratic New York Assemblyman William Scarborough’s Albany office Wednesday morning and also took papers from his office in Jamaica, Queens. The feds confronted him at 5:45 a.m. in a hotel room, where they seized his smartphone. FBI investigators asked Scarborough about per diem reimbursements received by state lawmakers.
“I’m innocent, but I understand the reality,” Scarborough told reporters at the state capitol Wednesday. “I don’t know what’s going to go on. I am going to talk to a lawyer, this is just stunning to me.”
Scarborough was first elected to the Assembly from a primarily Queens County district in 1994.
California state senator
Democratic California state Sen. Leland Yee was arrested Wednesday for wire fraud and conspiracy to deal firearms as part of an FBI sweep in Sacramento and the Bay Area. The gun-control proponent allegedly conspired to facilitate an undercover agent’s purchase of illegal firearms, which would be imported through a port in Newark, N.J.
Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, an organized crime figure in Chinatown, was arrested as part of the investigation that nabbed Yee.
Yee allegedly traded “official acts” for donations from undercover agents, and took $10,000 from an undercover agent to make a call to the California Department of Public Health passing along kind words about a potential contractor.
Yee was elected to the California State Assembly in 2002 and to the State Senate in 2006. He placed fifth in the 2011 San Francisco mayoral race, running up a $70,000 debt prior to his alleged crimes.
Mayor of Charlotte
FBI agents arrested Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon Wednesday for allegedly accepting bribes in exchange for “the use of his official position.”
Cannon allegedly accepted more than $48,000 in cash, airline tickets, a hotel room, and even an apartment from undercover FBI agents.
“In light of the charges that have been brought against me, it is my judgment that the pendency of these charges will create too much of a distraction for the business of the city to go forward smoothly and without interruption,” Cannon wrote in his resignation letter. “I regret that I have to take this action, but I believe that it is in the best interest of the city for me to do so.”
Cannon was elected to the City Council in 1993, served through 2005, and was elected again in 2009, serving as mayor pro tempore until his election to the mayoralty in 2013.
Rhode Island House Speaker
Rhode Island Speaker of the House Gordon Fox resigned his speakership and announced that he would not seek re-election after FBI agents, along with agents from the IRS, the U.S. attorney’s office, and state police, raided both his Providence, R.I. office and home Friday.
Fox did not disclose what the FBI was looking for. The search warrants and affidavits that allowed for the raid have been sealed by a court.
Fox was elected to the state legislature in 1992 and was elected speaker in 2010.