Gray said he does not know what issues authorities want to interview him about when they put him before a grand jury early next month in Los Angeles. As legislative director for Calderon from 2008 to 2011, Gray said his main job was to provide background material on bills before Calderon voted on them. – “Assemblyman Adam Gray to testify in FBI's Calderon investigation,” Capital Alert, July15, 2013
Although our new assemblyman, Adam Gray, did not graduate from UC Santa Barbara in political science, he did attend the school. And later he did three years of intense graduate study in the service of state Sen. Ron Calderon, learning important lessons about family values in politics. He and his own family have taken these lessons to heart and appear to be engaged in wholesale dynasty emulation: his step father chaired the Merced County Democratic Central Committee until shortly before Gray’s election; his uncle Robin Adam, longtime staffer for former assemblyman and congressman Dennis Cardoza, the Blue Dog Pimlico Kid, and lately state Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, Blonde-Stockton, has shepherded young Adam’s political career since the lad chased his first old lady to her car in the SaveMart parking lot to register her to vote Democrat; and his mother has made certain in a number of positions she has held around Merced that the name Candice Adam Medefind would be boldly illuminated in the flames of organizations she destroyed (including a Presbyterian church).
To further convince us how well he had absorbed the Calderon’s course in Dynasty Engineering, Assemblyman Gray married Cadee Condit, rescuing the young mother from the massage business in Colorado Springs whence she had fled when her father’s dynasty had floundered on the murder of a young female intern in his congressional office.
But “troubled” political dynasties in our area are not the special province of Democrats. The Berryhill Brothers, state Sen. Tom and former Assemblyman Bill, are the sons of Clare Berryhill, who served in both houses of the state Legislature and as director of the state Department of Food and Agriculture. They are in court at the moment, charged by prosecutors from two counties of money laundering through Republican county central committees.
Finally, there is the incipient bi-partisan dynasty of Cannellas: state Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, is the son of former Assemblyman Sal Cannella, D-Ceres. Like the Condits, both Cannellas served on the Ceres City Council and as mayors of that great nursery of California politicians (Bill Berryhill also calls Ceres home). Chance Condit, Gary’s grandson, serves on Gray’s staff. As sure as wars over water, there will be Condits, Cannellas and Berryhills running for council seats in Ceres in the future.
A possible explanation is that when political parties stand for nothing or worse, family is all that is left. Or is that right? -- blj
Al Jazeera America
The Calderon Dynasty: 30 years of political power
Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit examines the Calderon family's ups and downs since its patriarch's first big win
1982: A dynasty begins
Charles Calderon wins a seat in the California State Assembly to represent District 59. A political dynasty is born.
1988: Charles Calderon’s big ambitions
Charles Calderon leads the Assembly‘s “Gang of Five” — along with Gary Condit, Steve Peace, Rusty Areias and Jerry Eaves — in an unsuccessful bid to oust Willie Brown as speaker. Brown strips the Gang of Five members of their committee chairmanships and assigns them to small offices.
1990: Move to the Senate
Charles Calderon is elected to the California State Senate, representing suburban Los Angeles.
1991: Electoral defeat
Charles Calderon runs unsuccessfully for the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors.
1994: Misusing campaign funds
Charles Calderon is re-elected to the Senate. He is also fined $15,000 by the state Fair Political Practices Commission for using campaign funds for personal purposes, including purchasing modeling photos of his wife, a tennis outfit and an entertainer for his son Ian’s birthday party.
1996: Making political history
Charles Calderon becomes Senate majority leader, the first Latino to hold the position in California.
1998: Thomas Calderon enters politics
Charles Calderon gives up his Senate seat due to term limits and runs unsuccessfully for California attorney general.
Charles’ younger brother, Thomas Calderon, wins the Assembly seat for District 58.
2000: Thomas Calderon controls Insurance Committee
Thomas Calderon is re-elected to his seat in the Assembly and becomes chairman of the Insurance Committee.
2001: Charles Calderon fined again
Charles Calderon is fined $18,000 by California‘s Fair Political Practices Commission for 10 campaign finance violations, including spending campaign funds for personal use and failing to report contributions during his bid for state attorney general in 1998.
2002: Ronald Calderon joins family business of politics
Thomas Calderon runs unsuccessfully for the Assembly’s 58th District after Charles Calderon becomes ineligible to run because of term limits.
2006: Ronald Calderon joins the Senate
Ronald Calderon leaves the Assembly and is elected to a seat in the state Senate. Meanwhile, Charles Calderon wins the Assembly’s District 58 seat.
2007: The movie business
Ronald Calderon becomes a member of the California Film Commission, which promotes the California movie industry and determines which film projects receive a piece of the $100 million in state tax credits offered annually.
2008: Ronald Calderon heads Insurance Committee
Ronald Calderon becomes chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee.
2011: Swelling influence in new positions
Charles Calderon becomes majority floor leader of the Assembly.
Ronald Calderon becomes vice chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus.
2012: The dynasty continues
Thomas Calderon runs unsuccessfully for the Assembly’s 58th District after Charles Calderon became ineligible to run due to term limits.
Ronald Calderon launches a campaign for the U.S. Congress but withdraws his candidacy early.
Ian Calderon, the son of Charles Calderon, wins a seat in the Assembly representing the 57th District. He is assigned to the Insurance Committee.
Money laundering trial begins for Modesto-area Berryhill brothers
BY GARTH STAPLEY
SACRAMENTO — Modesto-area brothers Tom and Bill Berryhill broke state laws in 2008 by laundering $40,000 in campaign money through Republican central committees in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, a prosecutor said Tuesday morning at a trial with big political implications.
Tom Berryhill, now a state senator, sat at the defense counsel table and is expected to testify in coming days. As a state assemblyman at the time, he had no trouble raising big money while his brother was running for the first time in a tight Assembly race and needed a cash infusion for a last-minute television hit piece on his opponent, a prosecutor said.
“Tom Berryhill needed to get money to his brother very badly,” said Neal Bucknell, attorney with the California Fair Political Practices Commission. “They decided to send it through the central committees. It’s a straight-up money-laundering case.”
The trial, before an administrative law judge, is expected to last as long as nine days and is considered unusual for its heavy focus on an aggressive defense by the Berryhills and the central committees. Attorneys on both sides said almost all witnesses will be called to support defense claims that the money exchange was not a conspiracy.
Bill Berryhill’s campaign manager “was ringing the bell everywhere he could to raise money,” defense attorney Charles Bell said, but “there was no agreement between them and the central committees to commit laundering.”
At stake are penalties of as much as $80,000, as well as the reputations of several Republican power brokers. The central committees are defendants as well.
The Stanislaus GOP group is being investigated in a separate case on its suspected role in funneling $1.7 million in later years to candidates throughout California at the behest of state party leaders.
“This is a death penalty-type case for the central committees,” Bell said in his opening statement. The idea that they owed a duty to state leaders that involved breaking the law “seems to be illogical and absurd,” he added.
The last-minute TV ad in 2008 attacking Bill Berryhill’s Democratic opponent, John Eisenhut, may have helped Berryhill prevail with 51percent of the vote, and the Berryhills became the first brothers to serve in the Assembly at the same time in nearly six decades. They are sons of the late Clare Berryhill, a longtime Republican legislator who also served as state director of food and agriculture.
Tom Berryhill subsequently moved to Twain Harte and was elected to the state Senate. Bill Berryhill won re-election in 2010, about the time state ethics investigators launched the probe leading to this trial. He narrowly lost a Senate bid two years later to Cathleen Galgiani despite a $320,000 contribution from the Stanislaus central committee; that donation is part of the current investigation and is not related to the trial.
Knowing his brother needed quick campaign cash, Tom Berryhill on Oct. 28, 2008, held an event that raised $50,000. He sent $20,000 to the Stanislaus committee on Oct.30 and another $20,000 on Oct.31 to the San Joaquin group. The committees donated $20,000 and $21,000, respectively, to Bill Berryhill on the same days they received his brother’s contributions.
The Berryhill-Einsenhut campaign was “targeted,” or expected to draw unusual party attention because both sides hoped to win the seat with sufficient support, as opposed to others considered safe for either party. Safe contests typically draw little party support.
But neither committee gave more than $250 to Bill Berryhill before the last-minute infusion, according to testimony.
Tom Berryhill had given his brother the maximum allowed under law – $3,600 at the time, Bucknell said – while parties had no such ceiling.
Tom Berryhill used two committees as straw donors to conceal that he gave the $40,000, authorities suggest, because the law prohibited a candidate from receiving more than $30,200 from a single committee.
Dale Fritchen, chairman of the San Joaquin committee, testified that he alone decided how to spend Tom Berryhill’s donation.
“No one told me, ‘Here is a check; we want you to give it to somebody else,’” Fritchen said. “That didn’t happen. I would have been very offended by that.”
The Stanislaus committee in 2009 got into trouble for helping San Diego politician Joel Anderson launder money to his own campaign. Anderson was fined $20,000, and Fresno’s central committee $29,000, but the Stanislaus group got off with a warning letter.
“It just shows that’s how they do business,” Bucknell said, citing the Anderson case, “and that deprives the public of (knowing) the true source of the funds.”
Emails between involved parties suggest collusion, the prosecution team says.
Bell said it’s not enough for the FPPC to draw inferences of conspiracy. A penalty demands hard proof, he said.
In a recorded deposition viewed Tuesday, Bill Berryhill’s campaign manager, Carl Fogliani, said he did not recall whether he pressured Tom Berryhill for money.
But Fogliani did not dispute having described, in a conversation with Tom Berryhill, his brother’s depleted campaign bank account as “damn scary” and saying his “ass was hanging in the wind.” That was just before Tom Berryhill’s fundraiser and the subsequent money transfers.
Fogliani, appearing defiant and annoyed during questioning, said he pushed for an aggressive TV ad to counter Eisenhut’s “nasty” claims about Bill Berryhill. Fogliani’s commercial accused Eisenhut of getting a golden parachute from a bank CEO job and of being involved in the type of predatory lending that had caused foreclosures. Both were hot topics in late 2008.
“We were trying to run a positive campaign, until the other side decided to take liberties and attack Bill,” Fogliani said. “It’s not bean bags. He was in a glass house. We punched back.”
Gov. Jerry Brown in August appointed Eisenhut to the California Air Resources Board.
In addition to money laundering charges, Tom Berryhill is accused of failing to disclose, as required by law, gifts of Disney tickets worth $244 and tickets to a Keith Urban concert, valued at $59.50, from the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians.
Two weeks ago, the FPPC made headlines by extracting a record $1 million penalty from two Arizona entities that conspired to launder $15 million in California campaign money last year…