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Rep. Chu Applauds Arrests of Bell City Officials

September 21, 2010
Press Release

Congresswoman to introduce federal legislation that provides more tools to fight public corruption 

WASHINGTON – Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., praised today's arrests of eight current and former city officials of Bell, California.  The excessive compensation and alleged fraud and waste of officials in the city, located in southeast Los Angeles County, garnered attention and criticism across the nation.  Chu will soon introduce legislation to combat corruption within the ranks of federal, state and local elected officials across the country.

"Our country's elected officials' top priority must be the public good, not personal gain," Chu said.  "The excessive salaries and persistent deception of the Bell city officials was a massive breach of the public's trust.

"Across the country, we must remain diligent and committed to fighting corruption at every level of government.  Unfortunately, the Supreme Court decision that gutted the ‘Honest Services' law earlier this year takes away one of the most basic tools available to prosecutors in their defense of the public.  In times like this, everyday citizens are worried about their jobs and their families – they shouldn't have to worry about their elected officials, too.  That's why I'll soon introduce legislation to fix this shortcoming and ensure the nation's law enforcement is best able to protect the American taxpayer and tax dollar."

On June 24, The United States Supreme Court issued a ruling that narrowed the scope of the statute known as "Honest Services" fraud.  While federal prosecutors still have many tools to prosecute corruption, many convicted felons have attempted to have their sentences vacated, including Jeffrey Skilling, the former Enron CEO, and George Ryan, the former Illinois governor.  Chu's legislation targets public officials who use their positions of power for personal benefit.  It applies to elected officials at all levels of government.

Representative Judy Chu was elected in July 2009 to the U.S. House of Representatives as the Representative of California's 32nd District, which includes East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. She is a member of the House Government Oversight Committee, Education and Labor Committee, and Judiciary Committee, where she will introduce the "Honest Services" legislation.

Congresswoman Chu's career in politics spans 24 years. A lifelong educator, Congresswoman Chu taught community college classes in Los Angeles and East Los Angeles for 20 years. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology and a B.A. in mathematics.