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November 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

A report by Al Jazeera America on Thursday claiming that California state Senator Ron Calderon accepted bribes from FBI undercover agents in return for his votes on enhancing the state’s tax incentives for independent film producers and other matters has touched off angry reaction from Calderon’s fellow legislators and the news media. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said on Thursday that he regarded the allegations as “very disturbing and very serious.” In an editorial, the Sacramento Bee, noting that Calderon is a member of the California Film Commission and the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Film and Television, among others, urged Steinberg to remove Calderon “from any post from which he can exert any influence.” Paul Audley, president of FilmL.A., the semi-official agency that coordinates the issuance of film permits for location shooting in the area, told Daily Variety, “I am pretty disappointed in a lot of ways that the FBI chose to create this fake studio to bribe a public official.” In a separate interview with the Los Angeles Times, Audley accused the FBI of putting “at risk the future needs of this industry going forward, because this story is going to be hanging out there as we go before the legislature next year” when renewal of the current tax-incentive legislation will be considered. But Tom Sherak, recently appointed as the city’s film czar, told the Times. “I don’t see [renewal of the tax incentives] being affected. … People can tell the difference between a dishonest venture and an honest venture.”