California state senator and gun control advocate Leland Yee is facing public outrage and calls for his resignation after he was arrested and charged with corruption and firearms trafficking.
A criminal complaint filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier this week accuses Yee of accepting bribes and campaign contributions for official favors. He's also accused of orchestrating an arms deal with an undercover agent. (Via KNTV)
The FBI investigation which implicated Yee originally focused on Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, a notorious San Francisco Chinatown gangster who claimed to have gone straight after spending 11 years in prison. (Via History Channel)
But the investigation revealed Chow was still connected to the criminal underworld, and one of his connections led the FBI straight to Yee, who offered to introduce the agent to a foreign arms dealer. In a Feb. 25 meeting, Yee reportedly told the agent, "People want to get whatever they want to get. Do I care? No, I don't care." (Via U.S. District Courts)
The charges are particularly shocking given Yee's anti-gun crusade; the Democratic senator has been an outspoken gun control advocate for several years.
In 2012, he told KPIX, "I'm an individual who really wants our communities to be safe, and God forbid, if somehow these weapons were to fall into the wrong hands..."
Gun rights groups jumped on the accusations as evidence of the senator's hypocrisy. An NRA spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times, "This poster boy for gun control is a scumbag."
Yee is California's third Democratic state senator to be accused of criminal activity this year. Separate investigations have been leveled against Sen. Ron Calderon for corruption, and Sen. Roderick Wright for fraud, evidence of what The Sacramento Bee calls "a culture of corruption in the Capitol."
In a statement read by Yee's lawyer Thursday, the senator abandoned his ongoing campaign for Secretary of State, and Yee's Senate colleagues have called on him to resign.