State Sen. Leland Yee withdrew from the California secretary of state race Thursday, one day after his arrest on public corruption charges, his attorney said. “This was a very personal decision on the part of the senator,” said Paul DeMeester, his attorney, at a news conference outside the federal courthouse in San Francisco. “This is what he wanted to do.” Yee, a Democrat who represents half of San Francisco and most of San Mateo County, was one of 26 people ensnared in a five-year federal investigation that targeted Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, a notorious Chinatown gangster who had claimed to have gone straight, officials said. An outspoken advocate of gun control and open government, Yee is charged with conspiring to traffic in firearms as well as six counts of scheming to defraud citizens of honest services. He has not commented on the allegations. Investigators say Yee took bribes in exchange for political favors in order to pay off a $70,000 debt from an unsuccessful run for San Francisco mayor in 2011 and to fund his run for secretary of state. The bribes were paid by undercover agents, the FBI said.
Yee’s involvement in the federal case began in 2011, when a close associate of both he and Chow – former San Francisco school board member Keith Jackson, who also was arrested Wednesday – began to solicit undercover agents to contribute to Yee’s mayoral campaign, the FBI said.
DeMeester refused to comment on the criminal case or on anything else, including a call for Yee’s resignation from state office from the state’s leading Democratic senators.
Yee’s withdrawal from the secretary of state campaign, which he made official with a letter sent before noon to current Secretary of State Debra Bowen, shakes up a crowded race.
Full Article: Leland Yee quits secretary of state race – SFGate.