California Democrats Spend Nearly $1 Million To Settle Harassment Suits Against Former Chair
Former chairman Eric Bauman cost the California Democratic Party more than $800,000 in a discrimination and sexual misconduct settlements, according to records reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.
State and federal campaign finance filings show $378,348 in legal settlements for three lawsuits, filed by Alton Wang, William Rodriguez-Kennedy, and Kate Earley. In January, the trio filed against Bauman, and alleged that the abuse was “well-known and apparently tolerated” by other officials. The plaintiffs accused Bauman of unwanted touching and sexually explicit comments.
“Our party is at its best when it lives up to our values. One of those values is treating people fairly,” current party chair Rusty Hicks told the Times in a statement. “We have reached an equitable settlement that begins the process of getting back to the work 9 million California Democrats expect from us.”
Several other cases brought against Bauman by former party staffers remain active or pending. Bauman first took a leave of absence and then resigned last November following claims of misconduct toward staff members and activists. He said that he planned to seek treatment for alcohol abuse in a statement apologizing for his actions.
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“I deeply regret if my behavior has caused pain to any of the outstanding individuals with whom I’ve had the privilege to work. I appreciate the courage it took for these individuals to come forward to tell their stories,” Bauman said at the time. “Leading the California Democratic Party to historic victories has been the honor of a lifetime, and I look forward to continuing this important work upon the conclusion of the investigation and when my health allows.”
More settlements could could severely hamper Democratic campaign funding during a cycle in which the party has seven vulnerable House seats to defend. California Democrats reported nearly $12 million in total funding in their latest campaign finance filings.
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