SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The founder of the "Yes California" movement, known as Calexit, is being questioned for his ties to Russia.
Many are wondering if that could impact his plans here.
It's one of the most controversial proposals in California and its goal is to make the state its own country and repeal the clause in the U.S. Constitution that says it is the "supreme law of the land."
Signatures are already being gathered for it to be on our ballot in 2018.
Related Link: Should California leave the union?
At the center of the plan is President Louis Marinelli, who sat down with KUSI to talk about why this is a good option.
"It's not really a blue or red issue, it's more of an issue of recognizing the fact that the system in Washington is broken and dysfunctional and no longer serves the interests of the people of California anymore."
But questions are swirling about his possible ties to Russia and how that could influence this initiative.
KUSI reached out to him and he did confirm he is a Californian who presently lives in Russia as an English teacher.
"I am a Californian who presently lives in Russia as an English teacher. A proud Californian at heart, I relish the opportunity to promote and display our unique culture and history to the people of Russia. My office is not an official office of the Yes California Independence Campaign of which I am the President, but rather an office I have rented to, on my own free time and with my own money, as well as the support of some other US citizen friends of mine, build a cultural bridge between California and Russia. We are proud of the work we are doing and intend to do out of that office, a people's embassy if you will, to bridge the gap between our two peoples," Marinelli said in a statement.
He also called it a cultural bridge between California and Russia. But it's a bridge that's creating a big divide among critics of "Yes California."
Former CIA Chief Leon Pannetta told KGOTV that Californians should be wary of Russia's involvement in the U.S.
He said, "If you can weaken the leadership of the United States in the world, Russia can be able to get away with a lot more of what they want to do."
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