A state Senate ethics panel is hiring an independent lawyer as it considers what steps it might take during an ongoing federal corruption investigation.

Democratic Sen. Richard Roth of Riverside said Thursday that the Senate Committee on Legislative Ethics retained attorney Charles Stevens of San Francisco.

The move comes as the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles investigates whether Sen. Ron Calderon accepted nearly $90,000 to influence legislation.

No charges have been filed and Calderon, a Democrat from Montebello, and he denies any wrongdoing.