So, apparently, Mr. Transparency has a dark side. A real dark side.
We must admit that the arrest Wednesday of Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, was a shocker to us.
It was only the week before that Yee had been given a special award by the Society of Professional Journalists' Northern California chapter for his courage in fighting for openness in state government and his defense of the Public Records Act.
Apparently that penchant for openness was a sham that clearly did not extend to his personal life. Here he was being charged with deep involvement in a conspiratorial scheme with notorious figures that the FBI alleges ultimately would have exchanged guns and other weapons for campaign cash.
Yee's arrest is yet another blot on California's Senate. In February, Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, surrendered to authorities after being indicted on bribery charges. In January, Sen. Roderick Wright, D-Inglewood, was convicted of voter fraud and perjury stemming from a 2010 indictment.
Calderon and Wright are on leave with pay during the pendency of their cases.
But Senate President Darrell Steinberg has called for Yee to resign immediately. He is right about that but doesn't go far enough. Yee, Calderon and Wright all should resign now.
Yes, each man is innocent until proved guilty. They are entitled to that consideration in a courtroom, but that is not the case in the court of public opinion. The cases against these three men effectively have disenfranchised the voters who elected them.
Each man is toxic to his colleagues, and that means they cannot possibly serve effectively in a body such as the California Senate, which is built on the notion of collegial give and take. It is impossible to achieve that when your colleagues don't want to be in the same ZIP code with you.
Yee's case was compounded by his candidacy for statewide office. He had filed papers to run for secretary of state. But on Thursday, Yee had the good sense to withdraw from that race.
There is additional irony aside from Yee's arguing for transparency while apparently making shadowy deals with felons. Yee had authored bills aimed at outlawing gun violence as well as violent video games, yet now he is charged with dealing in such lovely items as M16s and shoulder rocket launchers.
And then there is this: Yee and Calderon shared a desk on the Senate floor. If these men have an ounce of honor between them, that desk will be cleaned out and empty by tomorrow.