It isn’t enough these days for certain state lawmakers to defend their voting records at election time. Some also have to explain arrest records, reports the Los Angeles Times. Within the last 20 months, five state legislators and a former state senator with active campaigns have been arrested on suspicion of crimes including drunk driving, perjury, voter fraud, shopliftin.g and trying to carry a loaded gun through airport security.
Not since a 1990s FBI sting known as Shrimpscam, which targeted influence peddling in the Capitol, have so many state lawmakers posed for booking photos in such a short time. “The people responsible for passing our laws should feel themselves under a special obligation to comply with those laws,” said Tracy Westen of the Center for Governmental Studies, a nonprofit group promoting open government. “Apparently, a number do not.” The handcuffs have come as the legislature has struggled to improve its reputation with a skeptical public.