BRISPEC sting operation

The Bribery and Special Interest (BRISPEC) sting operation was a sting operation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that investigated corruption in the California State Legislature from 1986 to 1988. The operation, later known as Shrimpscam in the press, involved setting up dummy companies by the FBI. One such company was a West Sacramento-based shrimp processing company. Then the fake companies lobbied for special-interest legislative bills favoring themselves. In addition, money was offered to legislators to see if any of them could be bribed in return for their support.[1] A couple of the bills were actually passed by both the Assembly and Senate, but were vetoed by Governor George Deukmejian, who was tipped off in advance.

Pardon of Patrick Nolan by President Donald Trump.

The operation resulted in the conviction and imprisonment of 12 public officials, among these were five state elected officials, including Board of Equalization Member Paul B. Carpenter (D), Senator Joseph B. Montoya (D), Senator Alan Robbins (D), Assemblyman Pat Nolan (R), and Assemblyman Frank C. Hill (R). In addition, Coastal Commissioner Mark L. Nathanson, insurance lobbyist Clayton R. Jackson and several legislative aides were also convicted in connection with the operation.[2]

Speaker Willie Brown (D) and Assemblymember Gwen Moore (D) were also targeted by the operation, but emerged unscathed. Brown had a $1000 campaign contribution shoved under his door returned to the donor. Moore's office was raided as part of the sting operation, but she was eventually acquitted of any wrongdoing.

Nolan was eventually pardoned by President Donald Trump on May 15, 2019.[3]


  1. ^ Paddock, Richard C.; Ostrow, Ronald J. "FBI Abscam Veterans Took Part in Capitol Sting Called 'Brispec'". Los Angeles Times (15 September 1988). Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  2. ^ Gladstone, Mark; Jacobs, Paul. "The G-Man, the Shrimp Scam and Sacramento's Big Sting : FBI agent James Wedick's undercover operation netted 14 public officials. But has it changed the way the state legislature works?". Los Angeles Times (11 December 1994). Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  3. ^ Mai-Duc, Christine (2019-05-15). "Trump pardons Pat Nolan, former GOP lawmaker taken down in FBI's 'Shrimpscam' probe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-05-16.

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