Sexual harassment allegations are not only destroying careers in Hollywood, but also in the California Democratic Party. The Democratic political establishment in California lost their super majority in the Assembly and possibly in the Senate due to scandal-ridden resignations.
Sexual assault and misconduct are such a problem that Democrat state Senate leader Kevin De Leon has hired two law firms to further investigate the matter. De Leon has been accused of not doing enough to protect those who come forward with stories of sexual misconduct o mistreatment. Christine Pelosi, chair of the California Democratic Party Women’s Caucus, says that up until this point, instead of formally reporting instances of sexual misconduct, instead there has been a sort of “whisper network.” Pelosi says that these women are afraid of the damage that speaking out against powerful colleagues – some of them current lawmakers – would have on their careers. Pelosi says that hiring these two law firms is not as trustworthy as she would like. Members of the group We Said Enough are doubtful as to the integrity of the investigation the two law firms will conduct, because by hiring attorneys to conduct the investigations the legislative members are giving themselves legal cover.
“We have rapists in this building. We have molesters among us.” Pelosi said, according to the Sacramento Bee. “There are perpetrators, enforcers and enablers in this building, and … a lot of us know who they are. We find out through that whisper network. People do talk, they just don’t come forward.”
In October, a group called We Said Enough released an open letter in which lobbyists, Capitol staff members, political consultants, and others called for systematic overhaul of the current methods for investigating allegations of sexual assault. Over 150 signers of the letter described employment within the State Capitol as a caustic environment rampant with sweeping sexual misconduct under the rug.
So far, Democratic Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra resigned after allegations that he groped seven women. Democratic Senator Tony Mendoza was stripped of his committee chairmanship and two commissioner posts after allegations that he used his position to inappropriately invite a female fellow to his home on multiple occasions to “review resumes.” At least two of his aides reported the misconduct to the Senate Rules Committee staff, and Mendoza fired three of his aides shortly thereafter. California Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León said he asked Sen. Tony Mendoza to step away from his position in the Legislature while three separate investigations are being conducted by the law firms hired for such purposes. Democratic Assemblyman Matt Dababneh also resigned after allegations of sexual assault in which he was accused of pushing a lobbyist into a hotel bathroom in Las Vegas and masturbating in front of her.