On Sunday, Melahat Rafiei announced her resignation as Secretary of the California Democratic Party and State Representative to the Democratic National Committee.
The resignations come during an ongoing FBI investigation for corruption.
In a lengthy tweet, Rafiei said the investigation had become a “hindrance” and “distraction from the important work of the party.”
Under a cloud of controversy, late last week Rafiei also resigned from her appointed roles on Anaheim’s Culture and Heritage Commission and the OC Fair and Event Center Board.
Rafiei lost the support of Democrat Party leadership after news surfaced that the FBI had arrested her on suspicion of bribing public officials in 2019.
Reportedly, she is now a “cooperating witness” in the Federal corruption probe.
The Epoch Times reports that the “FBI tapped Rafiei’s phone for about a month in the summer of 2019 and arrested her on Oct. 28, 2019.”
The investigation has led to several arrests in connection with illegal dealings pertaining to the sale of Angel Stadium. Implicated are former Anaheim, California, Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Todd Ament and Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu, who has been urged to resign.
Sidhu has not yet been charged with a crime and has not publicly responded to the
The investigation has stalled the $320 million deal to sell Angel Stadium.
The following pertinent facts were included in FBI Special Agent Brian Adkins’ affidavit, filed on. May 16:
- The complaint against Rafiei “was dismissed without prejudice at the request of the government.”
- FBI agents suspected Rafiei “omitted material facts to investigators,” including additional instances where she “offered to pay bribes to elected public officials.”
- “Based on the government’s interaction with CW1 and CW1’s counsel,” [the FBI believes] “CW1’s motive for cooperating in this investigation was to receive leniency for the federal criminal violation CW1 was originally arrested for, as well as other possible criminal conduct.”
- “The government has not made any promises of leniency to CW1 or CW1’s counsel.”
- “CW1 and the government have not been able to reach an agreement on a pre-indictment resolution, and at this time, there is no further cooperation expected.”
In her Twitter post, Rafiei claims she “never attempted to improperly influence any elected official and I am certain the work undertook to root out corruption was in the best interest of the people of this state and the Democratic Party.”
On Saturday, the California Democratic Progressive Caucus joined calls for Rafiei to step down from her party leadership roles. In a statement, the caucus addressed the matter by saying:
“While it is possible that the FBI case is overstated and that the audiotape doesn’t say what it seems to say, the important issue for the party is that (Rafiei) ran for CDP Officer and hid from delegates that she was arrested for corruption.”
“She put her own interests ahead of the party and that is never acceptable,” the statement said.