Senator Leland Yee is innocent until proven guilty, but in the court of public perception his high profile arrest will ripple through the political landscape like aftershocks from an earthquake.

A few places where the fallout of the Yee affair as well as the indictment of Sen. Ron Calderon and the conviction of Sen. Rod Wright just might play out—

The California Citizens Compensation Commission is considering approving a raise in the salaries of state elected officials. Indications are commissioners were leaning in that direction even though California legislators are the highest paid in the country.

Now three of those legislators are receiving those highest-in-the-country salaries even after being suspended from the state Senate. Even if the suspended politicians do not benefit from the raises if they eventually come about, the fact that the three senators are being paid while not working is an issue that troubles many. Leaders of the Senate proposed a constitutional amendment to correct the situation of a suspended legislator receiving pay but that is not the law now.

Given the controversy over the pay issue, can the compensation commission move forward with raises?

Following Wright’s conviction on eight counts of perjury and voter fraud for not actually living in the district he represented there were many calls for leniency as the judge considered a sentence that could result in an eight-year prison term. It was argued that Wright’s crime was not a serious one; that other legislators might face similar charges if pursued by an aggressive prosecutor.

Whatever the reasons for leniency in the Wright case, the concern about corruption under the Capitol dome has been ratcheted to a boiling point by the subsequent indictment and arrest of two more senators. That puts pressure on the judge who will make the first sentencing decision based on corruption charges. Wright’s situation has suffered because of the FBI stings on his colleagues.

Recent media articles defended the leadership of Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg as not being responsible for a corrupt culture in the Capitol. By all apparent measures, Steinberg is an ethical legislator who did not foster an atmosphere leading to criminal charges against his colleagues.

He certainly didn’t intend to end his political career once he was term-limited out of the Senate. Now the question is raised, what affect will his stewardship of a Senate session remembered for FBI stings and legislators’ arrests have on Steinberg’s political ambitions?

That would be up to the voters. And, the voters will also be tested in an odd way with the Yee scandal. Senator Yee has quit the Secretary of State’s race but his name will appear on the ballot. How closely do voters who have the ultimate say in our government follow public affairs? Voters could scramble the outcome of the hotly contested Secretary of State race by giving the San Francisco senator a healthy number of votes at the election. Board of Equalization member Betty Yee, running for state Controller, could be affected adversely if unaware voters confuse her with the disgraced senator.