May-Issue Carry Leads To Corruption

I wrote about an investigation into the Santa Clara County (CA) Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Laurie Smith back in June. NBC News Bay Area had started checking into just who was issued a carry permit. While the average person had about a 5.5% chance of getting it approved, if you were a big donor to the Smith re-election campaign your success rate skyrocketed to 79%. I noted at the time that the issue was still under investigation by the Santa Clara DA’s Office.

The District Attorney’s Office reported today that a grand jury has handed down indictments for felony bribery and conspiracy against four men including a captain in the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, two attorneys, and a local business owner. A $90,000 “donation” was to be made to an independent campaign committee in exchange for 10-12 carry permits for employees of a security company.

From the DA’s press release on the case:

Captain James Jensen, attorney Christopher Schumb, attorney Harpaul Nahal, and business owner Michael Nichols are accused of conspiring with the CEO and a middle manager of AS Solution, Inc., an international security company, to offer a $90,000 bribe to obtain concealed firearms permits (CCW licenses) for the company’s executive protection agents. This all took place in 2018, while Sheriff Laurie Smith — who had the authority to grant the CCW licenses — was in a hard-fought race for reelection, both in the primary and general elections.

The defendants are expected to be arraigned on the charges August 31, 2020 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose. If convicted, the defendants could receive prison time.

The DA’s Office is continuing to investigate more crimes and other individuals related to the issuance of CCW licenses. “Our concern is not whether the Sheriff grants many or few CCW licenses, but whether they are being granted or denied for the wrong reasons,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “CCW licenses should not be given out in exchange for campaign donations. They should not be for sale.”

The DA’s investigation began shortly after the general election in 2018, sparked by an inquiry from the Metro Silicon Valley weekly about executive security licensing and an extremely large campaign donation, which was reported in public filings. The investigation found that weeks after the scheme was hatched, the conspirators settled on a $90,000 “donation” in exchange for 10 to 12 CCW licenses. After submitting 7 CCW license applications to Jensen at a meeting, AS Solution manager Martin Nielsen donated the first half of that amount to the Santa Clara County Public Safety Alliance (“PSA”), an independent expenditure committee supporting Sheriff Smith. The $45,000 personal check, which Nielsen handed to the PSA’s assistant treasurer, Schumb, represented more than half of the funds raised by the PSA before the election that year. The second installment was forestalled by the DA investigation.

In addition to bribery, the indictment charges Jensen with conspiring with AS Solution employees to put false information in their CCW license applications. Jensen advised Nielsen to instruct AS Solution employees who were not residents of Santa Clara County to use local corporate addresses as their residence addresses in their applications.

Captain Jensen is currently the head of the Training and Compliance Division of the Sheriff’s Office according to their website. Among the things he oversees is the Regional Firearms Training Facility.

Christopher Schumb is listed as a 2020 SuperLawyer and is a top-rate general litigation attorney in San Jose. He was admitted to the California Bar in 1984. Harpaul Nahal is also in private practice in San Jose and was admitted to the California Bar in 2010.

Mike Nichols is president of The Gun Company and is also VP Operations for Nichols Manufacturing which machines parts for the aerospace, defense, and firearms industries. The company holds a 07 FFL according to both their website and BATFE records.

If California had shall-issue carry by law, there would have been no need to bribe a sheriff’s office for issuance of a carry permit. As it is here and in many other locations that have may-issue carry, who you are and how much of a campaign contribution you make is more important than whether you are an honest, law-abiding citizen.

Sen. Leland “Bullet Button Loophole” Yee Arrested On Corruption Charges (Updated)

California St. Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) who has led the fight to close the “bullet button loophole”  was arrested by the FBI today on public corruption charges including bribery.

From the AP:

A California state senator who was lauded for his efforts to make government more transparent was arrested Wednesday along with a onetime gang leader known as “Shrimp Boy” during a series of raids by the FBI in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, authorities said.

FBI spokesman Peter Lee confirmed the arrests of State Sen. Leland Yee and Raymond Chow, but declined to discuss the charges, citing an ongoing investigation. Yee was scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in San Francisco later Wednesday.

Yee was one of three Democrats running to be California Secretary of State. One of his opponents blamed the arrest on the need to raise money for campaigns.

Democrat Derek Cressman, who is one of several candidates also running for secretary of state, released the folowing statement:

“Coming on the heels of the corruption charges of Senator Calderon and the conviction of Senator Wright, today’s actions need to be a wake up call. We are clearly beyond the point of looking at one bad apple and instead looking at a corrupt institution in the California senate,” Cressman said. “The constant begging for campaign cash clearly has a corrosive effect on a person’s soul and the only solution is to get big money out of our politics once and for all.”

Corrosive effect on a person’s soul? Oh, please. As for his confederate who was arrested at the same time, Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, he was indicted in the 1990s for racketeering involving both teenage prostitution and trading in heroin. He later served 11 years of a 25 to life sentence on gun charges.

UPDATE: It gets better. What could be the worst charge that you could think of for an anti-gun politician like Leland Yee? Yep, arms trafficking.

In addition to being charged with wire fraud of honest services, Sen. Yee, along with his political consultant Keith Jackson and Wilson Sy Lim, are being charged with violating Sec. 922(a)(1) and Sec. 922(1). They are charged with conspiracy to deal firearms without a license and to illegally import firearms.

According to the criminal complaint, Yee told an undercover FBI agent that he would introduce him to an arms dealer he had known for many years. Yee went on to say that the weapons would be sourced from Russia. He asked the undercover agent if he wanted automatic or semiautomatic firearms. When the agent replied “automatic”, Yee said that wouldn’t be a problem. (see p. 84) The smuggled firearms would come through the Port of Newark, New Jersey. Yee was to get $100,000 for facilitating the first transaction valued at somewhere between $500,000 and $2.5 million.

All I can say is that Leland Yee is a hypocrite of the worst sort.

I Am Corrupt

I am corrupt. That is, if your definition of corruption extends to contributing time and money to pro-rights organizations and to pro-rights candidates. Unfortunately, in the fevered mind of Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy it does.

In an taped radio interview with Bill Cameron of WLS Radio, McCarthy made just such assertions. The interview broadcast yesterday morning but the audio podcast of it has not yet been posted to the station’s website.

Reaction to McCarthy from the Illinois State Rifle Association was swift.



Chicago Police Superintendent McCarthy Crosses The Line

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Feb. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ –The following was released today by the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA):

Chicago’s embattled police superintendent dug himself deeper into a pit of controversy today by claiming that lawful firearm owners are agents of political corruption. Appearing on a Chicago Sunday morning talk show, superintendent Garry McCarthy expressed his conviction that firearm owners who lobby their elected representatives or who donate money to political campaigns are engaged in corruption that endangers public safety. McCarthy went on to express his belief that judges and legislators should rely on public opinion polls when interpreting our Constitution.

After totally dismissing the citizen’s right to redress grievances, McCarthy trained his constitutional wisdom on the 2nd Amendment. Despite recent court decisions to the contrary, McCarthy opined that the 2nd Amendment limits citizens to owning smooth-bore muskets. McCarthy went on to say that he believes that the 2nd Amendment supports mandatory liability insurance for firearm owners and the mandatory application of GPS tracking devices to civilian owned firearms.

” Garry McCarthy ‘s understanding of our Constitution barely qualifies him as a meter maid, never mind the chief of the nation’s third largest police department,” commented ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson . “What on earth would possess McCarthy to assert that constitutional rights should be meted out based on public opinion polls? Let’s not forget that public opinion polls once opposed a woman’s right to vote while it would be a safe bet that, at one time, polls would have shown lynching as an acceptable form of justice. It has been said that our Constitution exists to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. McCarthy’s view of our Constitution is dangerous and unbecoming of a civil servant.”

“McCarthy needs to understand that the lawful firearm owners of this state will continue to lobby their representatives and continue to support candidates who represent their interests,” continued Pearson. “If Garry McCarthy doesn’t like that, well that’s just too bad. If McCarthy is so interested in influence peddling, he should pop into some of the gin mills ringing the Illinois Capitol and count the ruddy red noses of taxpayer-funded lobbyists for the City of Chicago.”

The ISRA is the state’s leading advocate of safe, lawful and responsible firearms ownership. For more than a century, the ISRA has represented the interests of millions of law-abiding Illinois firearm owners.

By McCarthy’s definition, the intrusion of Mayor Bloomberg and his money into the Democrat primary to replace disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. must be anti-corruption. His ads only target former Rep. Debbie Halvorson due to her previous stance on gun control. I say previous stance as she has backtracked significantly from her former pro-gun rights stance. Nonetheless, she still is against any assault weapons (sic) ban.