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Denham files criminal complaint against Perata

Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata broke the law by trying to force government employees to lend a hand in his effort to recall effort state Sen. Jeff Denham, his campaign alleged Thursday in a criminal complaint.

Perata, D-Oakland, sent a memo last week reprimanding state senators for not sending their chiefs of staff to a campaign planning meeting.

“This is not an optional activity,” he wrote. “Thank you.”

The next day, an employee from political consulting firm that Perata uses sent an e-mail to a Senate employee asking her to translate a recall campaign script into Spanish. Law prohibits state employees from getting involved in political causes on taxpayer time.

The complaint asks the California Attorney General’s Office and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office to investigate the allegations. It will also be forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigations in case it relates to its probe of Perata.

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