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Was California’s Gas Tax Passed With Quid Pro Quo?

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By Kody Fairfield

Yesterday California Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R), spoke to KFIAM640 and explained that she has sent a letter to CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) calling for an investigation into quid pro quo vote trading, which helped to pass the “Golden State’s” enormous Gas Tax bill.

Melendez, a Republican in California, which is currently a Supermajority Democrat legislature, claims that Governor Jerry Brown may have violated a provision within the California State Constitution (Article 4, Section 14) which reads:

“A person who seeks to influence the vote or action of a member of the Legislature in the member’s legislative capacity by bribery, promise of reward, intimidation, or other dishonest means, or a member of the Legislature so influenced, is guilty of a felony.”

Melendez’s letter, which can be read below, explains that the offering of “deals,” in exchanged for an affirmative vote on the bill, constitutes a quid pro quo and violates the provision explained above. She writes:

“The arrangements made were for those legislators to support Senate Bill 1, and in exchange, Senate Bills 132 and 496 will pass with their predetermined deals. This appears to be a standard quid pro quo exchanged, which has been made clear by these legislators’ public statements about the evolution of their decision and their rationale in voting for Senate Bill 1.”

READ MELENDEZ’S LETTER:

Letter to the Attorney General by Kody Fairfield on Scribd

As Melendez explains, the accusation lies upon the “deals” which were made to procure the safe voyage of SB1 and the public statements made by the recipients of those “deals.” Deals, which tallied up a whopping total of nearly $1 billion dollars of extra spending.

Upon hearing about the accusation, Gov. Brown responded with scoffs, reports KFI.

Brown said it was “preposterous,” the radio station reported.

“When somebody says, ‘Here is $10,000, I want your vote,’ you got bribery. It’s illegal. When someone says, ‘You know, I think this bill would be better if you included these projects or these ideas or these rules’ we listen, because that’s democracy and that’s openness and that is a compromise spirit that makes democracies work...When we fashion a bill in the democratic system we don’t do it by an autocratic dictator behind a closed door. We talk to people.  We get many ideas to fashion a consensus product,” said Brown, according to KFI.

RELATED: CA Dem Stripped of Chairmanship Over Vote Against Gas Tax

LISTEN TO MELENDEZ EXPLAIN THE SITUATION:

Melendez ended her comments regarding the potential quid pro quo stating:

“I am for working toward a solution and understand the need for compromise, but there is a big difference between compromise and bribery.”

Even with Melendez’s plea to the AG of California, not much is expected out of Sacramento. The partisan politics rule the land in the state, and Becerra has proven to be a partisan in his past.

Ultimately, those concerned with no just the burden of the tax bill that was passed, but also about the ethics of how it was passed, may have to look outside of the State’s legislature to move the needle on this one.

 

Follow Kody on Twitter.
Send news tips to EICfairfieldTLR@Gmail.com.

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