Critical Intel

Critical Intel
The Senator Yee Affidavit: Bribery, Triads, Drugs, and Arms Deals

Robert Rath | 3 Apr 2014 16:00
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The FBI set up a conference call with an undercover agent acting as the health department employee. Yee took the bait, endorsing the company as "a tremendous boon for the state of California," and saying that he hoped it would be a "fruitful, uh, relationship from them and California, and maybe there are other, uh, projects that we can engage them in." When the state employee hung up and Agent 73 was still on the line, Yee asked if that was okay.

Even after the call, Agent 73 pressured Yee for the endorsement letter, threatening to withhold the campaign donation until Yee caved. The Senator fumed, but he did cave - the FBI got their written proof in January 2013.

Sensing blood in the water, Agent 73 introduced Yee to his purported business associate, Agent 80, who claimed he wanted to become the "Anheuser-Busch" of medical marijuana. Yee and Jackson met 80 at the same Starbucks where they transacted many of their backdoor deals, and heard him out about wanting a Senator to influence legislation. Yee was pessimistic that medical marijuana would pass that year, but suggested that it could be done by ballot initiative, which would be part of his purview as Secretary of State. At a subsequent campaign event, they made the cash-for-access deal explicit.

In a further meeting, a confidential source purporting to work for 80 gave Yee specifics on legislation: the company wanted any bill that came out of the legislature to specify that a doctor had to be on staff at medical marijuana dispensaries, since that would cut competition from small operators that couldn't handle the startup cost.

Yee was clearly uncomfortable with the request, but Jackson continually pushed him to contact the senator (known as [State Senator 1]) so they could collect the $10,000 to $15,000 donation Agent 80 promised. "Shit," said Yee in response. "That's pay to play and you can't do that. You cannot connect. You could go to jail for that."

Yee stalled on the deal, but in the end he set up a meeting with State Senator 1.

"I'm just trying to run for Secretary of State," said Yee while walking Agent 80 to see the Senator. "I hope I don't get indicted."

When they met State Senator 1, Yee pumped Agent 80's case. He said that there needed to be a high barrier to entry for medical marijuana, and that he was turning around on the issue because sick people in his community needed it.

Two days later, Agent 80 met Yee and Jackson in a hotel room in San Francisco. 80 dropped an envelope on the table that had $11,000 cash in it. "[T]his is a campaign donation and Keith and you can talk about that. It's for the meeting with State Senator 1." Nobody touched the envelope, it sat there like a poisoned cup as the men talked upcoming legislation. When Yee and Jackson got up to leave, a comedy routine ensued - Yee gestured for Jackson to grab the envelope, but Jackson didn't see the gesture. Instead of picking it up himself, Yee walked over to Jackson, tapped him on the back, pointed at the envelope and said: "Take that."

Over the next few months, Yee introduced Agent 80 to another legislator and State Senator, both with influence over medical marijuana. In return, 80 paid Yee's campaign a further $10,000 and offered both Yee and Jackson part-ownership in his marijuana business - they were noncommittal.

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