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CALmatters' Capitol columnist Laurel Rosenhall

Open Reporting: Inside the Capitol

This post is part of our Open Reporting at CALmatters, in which we share progress on stories as we’re developing them, while also inviting you to share thoughts and comments to help inform our research. Our goal: more transparent and effective journalism. We welcome your feedback.


April 9, 2018 9:55 am

Track the Legislature’s sexual harassment records with our spreadsheet

Political Reporter
#metoo sexual harassment
Photo via Pixabay

The latest sexual harassment investigation released by the Legislature shows a former chief of staff “more likely than not” made sexually suggestive comments to staff members and leered at employees in a way that made them uncomfortable. Rodney Wilson, who was the top aide to Assemblyman Tom Daly until he resigned in January, said in an email to CALmatters on Friday that he disagreed with the report’s conclusion, but he apologized “to those who may have been offended by their perception of the way I looked at them or what they believe they might have heard.”

In releasing the records, legislative administrators wrote a letter saying they are not required by law to make them public. However, facing intense pressure from the media amid a national reckoning over sexual harassment, legislative leaders agreed to release a subset of records—those detailing sexual harassment complaints against elected lawmakers and high-level staff that were substantiated by an investigation or for which a settlement was paid.

At this point the Legislature has released all records from the past that are likely to be made public. However, numerous investigations are currently under way; I and other reporters have asked the Legislature to release them as they are completed.

To keep track of the cases and make the source documents available to the public, I’ll continue updating this spreadsheet, which we created when the Legislature released a first batch of records on Feb. 2.

Want to submit a reader reaction? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Dan Morain with any questions, [email protected], (916) 201.6281.

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Sept. 25, 2018 6:32 pm

Senator from San Diego County reprimanded for threatening to ‘bitch slap’ a lobbyist

Political Reporter
Joel Anderson and John Moorlach sit at the dais in a Senate committee hearing.
State Sen. Joel Anderson, Republican of Alpine. Photo by Robbie Short for CALmatters.

State Sen. Joel Anderson was at least a little tipsy and rubbing a lobbyist’s shoulders during a political fundraiser at a steakhouse near the Capitol last month when he leaned in close and told her he wanted to “bitch slap” her.

That’s the finding of the latest sexual harassment investigation released by the California Legislature on Tuesday as the fallout of the #MeToo movement continues to ripple through the state Capitol. The records include a letter reprimanding Anderson, a Republican from Alpine,  and calling his behavior “completely unacceptable.” The letter from Senate leader Toni Atkins, a Democrat, instructs him to “interact in a professional manner going forward” and says he will face more severe discipline if he doesn’t.

Atkins’ Republican counterpart applauded the move, saying all senators need to adhere to standards of conduct.

“The behavior exhibited in this incident will no longer be tolerated.  The decision to issue a reprimand in this case is warranted and appropriate,” Senate Republican leader Pat Bates said in a statement.

Anderson, who is termed out of the Senate this year and is running for a seat on the Board of Equalization, told investigators that he did not use the term “bitch slap” in a threatening way. Instead, he argues, he used the term to describe something he found shocking. He said it was a poor choice of words and he should have instead said “blow your mind.”

Investigators disagreed, saying the lobbyist and four witnesses they interviewed heard Anderson say it as a threat, something to the effect of “I ought to bitch slap you.”

“Although we do not reach a conclusion on the specific phrasing, we conclude the term was not used in the context described by Senator Anderson,” the investigation says.

The list below shows all the harassment cases that have been substantiated by the California Legislature since it began releasing such records in February. We are continually updating this spreadsheet; scroll to the right for a link to the source documents.

Want to submit a reader reaction? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Dan Morain with any questions, [email protected], (916) 201.6281.

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Aug. 31, 2018 5:31 pm

Senator from Orange County reprimanded for giving noogies

Political Reporter
Senator John Moorlach, Republican of Irvine, in the Senate chambers. Photo by Max Whittaker for CALmatters
Senator John Moorlach, Republican of Irvine, in the Senate chambers. Photo by Max Whittaker for CALmatters

State Sen. John Moorlach put a woman in a headlock and gave her a “noogie” while they were posing for a photo at a reception—something he said he does frequently in good fun, according to investigative records released Friday by the state Senate.

“While your behavior… does not appear to be sexual in nature, it is still considered ‘unwanted behavior’ and as such is inappropriate and a violation of our policy,” Senate leaders wrote in a letter to Moorlach, a Republican from Costa Mesa.

The letter says Moorlach had previously been counseled for inappropriate touching because he poked an employee in the stomach. It instructs him to “stop giving ‘noogies’ or touching anyone in ‘fun,’ regardless of whether you believe the ‘noogies’ or touching are wanted or welcomed by the recipient.”

Moorlach responded with a statement saying he was “guilty of occasional playfulness” and vowing to stop “this innocent and gregarious behavior.”

Moorlach becomes the latest entry on our running tally of misconduct reports the Legislature has released in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Scroll to the right for a link to the redacted documents released by the Senate.

Want to submit a reader reaction? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Dan Morain with any questions, [email protected], (916) 201.6281.

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The most explosive allegation to come out of the #MeToo movement in the California Capitol—a lobbyist’s claim that then-Assemblyman Matt Dababneh pushed her into a bathroom and made her watch him masturbate—has been substantiated by an Assembly investigation. And legislative officials went even further by denying Dababneh’s request for an appeal of the findings, according to records released Monday.

Dababneh, a San Fernando Valley Democrat who resigned in December, has denied the allegation and sued lobbyist Pamela Lopez for defamation after she publicly accused him of trapping her in a bathroom, masturbating and asking her to touch him while they were both at a Las Vegas hotel in 2016 for a mutual friend’s wedding.  The Assembly investigation was triggered by a formal complaint Lopez lodged after hundreds of women signed a letter last fall decrying a culture of sexual harassment in the California Capitol.

Since then, the Legislature has approved a new policy for preventing and responding to harassment, and leaders agreed to make public certain records when investigations determine that elected officials and high-level staff members engaged in misconduct.

“So far it seems like the process is working,” said Lopez on Monday. “I was sexually harassed by Dababneh, the legislature conducted an investigation and substantiated that claim, then denied his appeal.”

We are keeping track of the harassment records the Legislature is releasing with this spreadsheet; scroll to the right to see the documents.

Want to submit a reader reaction? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Dan Morain with any questions, [email protected], (916) 201.6281.

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A Republican from the Central Valley is the latest California lawmaker found to have violated the Capitol’s sexual harassment policy. An investigation found that Assemblyman Devon Mathis of Visalia made frequent sexual comments, but determined there is not enough evidence to prove more serious allegations of sexual assault.

A redacted letter released by the Assembly Rules Committee says its investigation substantiated the claim that Mathis “frequently engaged in sexual ‘locker room talk,’ including making sexual comments about fellow Assemblymembers.” Mathis released an un-redacted version of the letter, which says the investigation found another allegation was not substantiated. The letter does not describe the unsubstantiated allegation but his chief of staff, Justin Turner, said it was the same claim published in a blog post last year accusing Mathis of sexual assault.

“The locker-room conversation referenced in the letter, that took place almost four years ago, was wrong and something for which I have previously apologized and do so again,” Mathis said in a statement.

The letter says the Assembly took “appropriate remedial actions” against Mathis, which the Speaker’s Office described as sensitivity training and counseling on the Assembly’s harassment policy.

Mathis’ case is the latest harassment investigation to be made public by the California Legislature in the wake of the global #MeToo movement that began last year and exposed many cases of misconduct inside the state Capitol. It prompted lawmakers to create a new protocol for handling sexual harassment investigations—though it won’t go into effect until next year.

Pressure from the media and victims’ advocates also prompted legislative leaders to make public some records that document substantiated harassment cases—records that had long been shielded from public view.  The spreadsheet below lists all cases the Legislature has made public. I created it when the Legislature began releasing records in February and am updating it as each new case is released. You can scroll to the right for links to source documents.

Want to submit a reader reaction? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Dan Morain with any questions, [email protected], (916) 201.6281.

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On a leave of absence from the Legislature since she was accused of sexual harassment in February—and facing intensifying attacks in her re-election campaign—Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia jumped back into the fray today, sending out a press release saying she’d been “exonerated.”

Not quite.

Though an investigation did not substantiate the most serious allegations against her, it found that Garcia, a Bell Gardens Democrat, violated the Assembly’s sexual harassment policy by “commonly and pervasively” using vulgar language in talking to her staff. It also found that she had employees perform personal tasks and disparaged elected officials. (Garcia admitted recently that she had called former Speaker John Perez, who is openly gay, a “homo.”)

Speaker Anthony Rendon quickly moved to diminish Garcia’s clout, removing her from all committee memberships. Rendon also is requiring Garcia to attend “sensitivity training” and sessions to learn more about the Assembly’s policy on harassment and violence prevention.

“Our members have the responsibility to treat constituents, staff, colleagues and the entire Capitol community with respect and dignity. Disappointingly, that has not always been the case with Assemblymember Garcia,” Rendon said in a statement.

Garcia’s press release included an apology “for instances where my use of language was less than professional.”

“I want to assure everyone that I have learned from this experience and will do everything in my power to make amends for my past. Nothing is more important to me than protecting the health and safety of the people I represent. I know that I can only effectively serve my constituents if staff and my colleagues feel comfortable and respected on the job. That is the climate I pledge to build and sustain,” Garcia’s statement said.

The investigation did not substantiate complaints that Garcia drank heavily on the job, played spin-the-bottle with employees and squeezed a staff member by the butt. But it’s unclear how thorough the investigation was. It was completed without interviewing four former employees who accused Garcia of misconduct, according to a letter from the Assembly’s chief administrative officer to Dan Gilleon, the accusers’ lawyer. The letter says Gilleon advised his clients not to participate, an assertion he challenged.

“My clients were, and are, willing to cooperate as long as the Assembly is willing to take the most basic and simple steps to ensure the investigation is fair and no retaliation is permitted,” Gilleon wrote in an email to the Assembly that he shared with CALmatters.

The Sacramento Bee reported that Daniel Fierro, who accused Garcia of groping him at a softball game, gave the Assembly names of witnesses who were never interviewed. He told the Bee that he is planning to appeal the Assembly’s findings.

All of which means this story probably isn’t over yet.

Want to submit a reader reaction? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Dan Morain with any questions, [email protected], (916) 201.6281.

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The state Senate has released results of an investigation finding that Adam Keigwin, the former chief of staff to Sen. Leland Yee, likely engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct with a female employee when they both worked for the Senate, including unwanted touching and exposing himself. Keigwin, now a lobbyist, said in a statement that the allegations are “absolutely untrue.” Read further coverage in  the Sacramento Bee and the Los Angeles Times.

This is the latest in a series of harassment investigations that have been made public by the Legislature in the wake of the #MeToo movement that has exposed sexual misconduct in many workplaces. I’m keeping track of the cases coming out of the California Capitol with this spreadsheet, which we created when the Legislature released a first batch of records on Feb. 2. You can scroll to the far-right column to seek a link to the source documents for each case.

Want to submit a reader reaction? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Dan Morain with any questions, [email protected], (916) 201.6281.

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The Legislature has released another swath of harassment records—this time detailing five cases it substantiated or in which a settlement was reached—involving elected members and high-level employees between 1992 and 2005.

Only one case involved an elected official, and he is not named in the records released by the Legislature. News accounts have described allegations against then-Sen. Richard Polanco, a Los Angeles Democrat, that resulted in a $117,200 settlement payment of taxpayer funds to Karri Velasquez in 1998, and those details match the date, amount and victim name in the documents released today.

The records also describe four cases of harassment by high-level legislative staff, only one of whom, Ronald Jackson, was terminated. The other three—David Commons, Bob Biddle and Josephine Figueroa—were given warnings, allowed to resign, or granted an unpaid leave of absence.

Read the Assembly records here.

Read the Senate records here.

Want to submit a reader reaction? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Dan Morain with any questions, [email protected], (916) 201.6281.

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March 14, 2018 3:06 pm

Capitol reporters ask Legislature to release harassment records routinely

Political Reporter
Reporters covering lawmakers in the California Capitol on January 25, 2018. Photo by Max Whittaker for CALmatters.
Reporters covering lawmakers in the California Capitol in January. Photo by Max Whittaker for CALmatters.

Last month, legislative leaders broke from their custom of keeping records about sexual harassment in the Capitol secret when they released a decade of documents about misconduct by lawmakers and high-level staff. But in the weeks since, reporters who cover the state Capitol have faced a mishmash of responses when we’ve sought additional harassment records from the Legislature—including long delays for some reporters.

The Legislature’s inconsistency makes it harder for journalists to give Californians timely information about your government.

So the Capitol Correspondents Association of California—which represents reporters who cover the statehouse—today sent a letter to the Legislature’s leaders asking for an improved and consistent system for releasing information about substantiated cases of sexual harassment. The association is asking the Legislature to proactively release records on such cases on a public web site, so that not only reporters will have access to it but voters will as well. Read the letter here:

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Want to submit a reader reaction? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Dan Morain with any questions, [email protected], (916) 201.6281.

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A huge twist emerged this week in the Capitol’s months-long reckoning over sexual harassment: A female lawmaker who helped spark the movement to end misconduct is taking a leave of absence while she herself is being investigated for sexual harassment.

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia

An explosive report in Politico quoted a former legislative aide who accused Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia of groping him during a softball game in 2014. It also included an anecdote from an unnamed lobbyist who described an inebriated Garcia making a sexual pass at him. Then came a follow-up story by Capital Public Radio reporting that Daniel Fierro, the former staffer who accused Garcia of groping, has ties to two male legislators Garcia has publicly lambasted for their alleged treatment of women.

Garcia, a Democrat from Bell Gardens, is the chair of the Legislature’s women’s caucus and has participated in the #MeToo movement by speaking out against a culture of sexual harassment in the male-dominated state Capitol. She denies the allegations against her but said she’s taking a voluntary unpaid leave “so as not to serve as a distraction or in any way influence the process of this investigation.”

Things are getting messy. And all that happened after I wrote this story about lawmakers struggling to figure out how to respond to the harassment allegations that are now sweeping the Capitol.

Meanwhile, I’ve been reviewing the documents the Legislature released last week about substantiated cases of sexual harassment from 2006 to 2017 by lawmakers and high-level staff. A few questions the records raised:

Disparate discipline (and record-keeping):

There is a confusing disparity in how employees were disciplined for sexual harassment. The records indicate that in 2009, one Assembly staffer was fired for talking about sex, while another lost three days of pay for groping a fellow employee—behavior the victim later described as aggressively reaching inside her blouse.

(The staffer the records indicate groped, Raul Bocanegra, went on to become an Assemblyman. He resigned last year after the incident, and other harassment allegations, became public.)

“There needs to be some transparency about what the degrees of harassment are and what the potential punishments are, recognizing that cases are different,” said Julie Snyder, a Sacramento lobbyist who was struck by the disparity when she reviewed the records.

A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said that the portions of the records that were publicly released don’t tell the full story of why certain people were fired. (Many of the pages were heavily redacted.)

“In some cases there were other things they did that factored into the broader reason for why they were terminated,” said Kevin Liao. “To just say the discipline varied because of sexual harassment is an incomplete telling of the picture.”

The logged complaints themselves lack uniformity. Though most were typed up on letterhead or disciplinary forms, one was written by hand on notebook paper. The notes were so difficult to make sense of that the Senate released them with a summary typed up the day the records went public.

“The integrity and timeliness of HR records is critical, and the fact that some records were written today and others were handwritten proves the point that the Legislature’s HR practices are problematic,” said a statement from Sen. Bob Hertzberg, the subject of the handwritten complaint that said he made an employee uncomfortable by pulling her close to him and dancing.

Who investigates complaints?

A consistent demand from victims and their advocates has been that investigations should be conducted by a neutral party—not by the Legislature’s administrators, who answer to politicians. The Senate responded late last year by hiring an outside law firm to investigate complaints.

But that makes the Senate the law firm’s client, so any information the investigation yields will be turned over to the Senate’s political leaders. It will be up to them whether to release the information.

This has frustrated Hertzberg, a Los Angeles Democrat who is cooperating with the law firm’s investigation. Former Assemblywoman Linda Halderman, a Fresno Republican, has accused him of repeatedly hugging her in an aggressive and unprofessional way. Hertzberg—who long-ago earned the nickname Hugsberg—has publicly apologized, and told the Sacramento Bee that his intentions “have only been to foster a warm, human connection.”

Halderman said she was disappointed to learn that the Senate lawyers’ investigation of her complaint will not automatically be shared with her.

“No access will be given to me, whether it’s the part of the report that involves me or the report at large,” Halderman said. “If (Senate leaders) choose for whatever reason to push this aside, I’ve done all this for nothing.”

That concern leads to another unresolved issue:

How much will the public learn about confirmed perpetrators?

Back in 1975 the Legislature passed the ironically named Legislative Open Records Act , a law that says it doesn’t have to release any records about its investigations. And when reporters asked this fall for documents about harassment investigations, the Legislature refused to provide them. But after mounting pressure from the press, legislative leaders eventually changed course and released a limited set of records.

The Legislature’s administrators made clear, however, that in releasing the documents, they were not giving up their legal right to keep such information secret in the future.

“Please note we are not generally waiving applicable privileges and statutory exemptions with regard to Legislative Open Records Act requests,” top administrators wrote in letters attached to the documents.

Some of the records being provided don’t have to be disclosed under the law, their letters went on, “but are being provided nonetheless to facilitate open discourse concerning sexual harassment in the workplace.”

Two key lawmakers—Sen. Toni Atkins, the incoming Senate leader, and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, a Glendale Democrat who is leading a panel charged with crafting a new sexual harassment policy—both told me they want the Legislature to continue releasing investigations that name the people whose harassing behavior has been confirmed.

“We need objective criteria that everyone understands, and that would include perhaps the process of releasing these things to the press,” Friedman said, adding that it’s an issue her committee will tackle.

This post was updated at 4:01 p.m. to include a comment from Kevin Liao, spokesman for the Assembly Speaker’s Office.

Want to submit a reader reaction? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Dan Morain with any questions, [email protected], (916) 201.6281.

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Four current lawmakers, two former lawmakers and a dozen legislative employees are named in a trove of records the California Legislature released today showing substantiated cases of sexual harassment over the last decade.

The records show that the Capitol’s human resources staff affirmed complaints against state Sens. Bob Hertzberg and Tony Mendoza, both Democrats from the Los Angeles area, as well as Assembly members Travis Allen, a Republican from Huntington Beach who is running for governor, and Autumn Burke, a Democrat from Marina Del Rey.

Substantiated complaints against former Sen. Rod Wright and former Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, both Democrats from Los Angeles, were also included in the records. So, too, were settlement payouts that followed sexual harassment allegations against a third former lawmaker, Democratic Assemblyman Steve Fox from Palmdale.

The elected officials engaged in a range of behavior, the documents say, including tight hugs, raunchy office banter and flirtatious text messages that made employees feel uncomfortable. The legislative staff members are described as harassing others by hugging and groping, showing porn on their government computers, talking about sex, calling them vulgar names and in one case, asking an employee to wear sheer pantyhose.

The highlights:

In several cases employees were fired after the complaints were investigated. In other cases they were temporarily suspended from work or issued a warning letter. The discipline of elected lawmakers, however, was different: typically a talking-to by legislative administrators.

Victims advocates were quick to point out that the records hardly paint a complete picture of the longstanding problem of sexual harassment in the state Capitol. Many people may never file an official complaint in the first place, and the records released were restricted to those concerning elected lawmakers and high-level staff. Complaints against employees who are not supervisors were not included, nor were complaints that were filed but not substantiated. The records do not include cases currently being investigated: six in the Senate and eight in the Assembly.

Still, the release of roughly 100 pages of internal records marked a highly unusual break from the Legislature’s long tradition of shielding such information. It came following intense pressure from the press amid a global movement by women who are fed up with sexual harassment and assault.

Just yesterday, members of the Democratic State Central Committee sent a letter to legislative leaders demanding the records be released. “Time is up,” the letter said. “Your hesitation has delayed justice for survivors, kept predators hidden, and forced us to engage in a process that may result in (the party’s) endorsement of compromised legislators.”

“With the release of these documents, the Senate and Assembly are united in declaring sexual harassment in the Capitol will not be tolerated and will be met with severe consequences,” Democratic Senate leader Kevin de León said in a statement.

Allen blasted the records release as a “political attack by a Democrat led committee,” but some of his opponents in the governor’s race called it differently. Delaine Eastin, the only major female gubernatorial candidate, tweeted “Travis Allen is now a known predator and should drop out.”

GOP Assemblyman and candidate for governor Travis Allen.

Assemblyman and GOP candidate for governor Travis Allen.

Women leading the charge against sexual harassment in the Capitol had mixed reactions. We Said Enough—a group of lobbyists and political professionals that formed after nearly 150 women signed a letter in the fall complaining of rampant sexual harassment in California politics—said the records release “falls dramatically short of a comprehensive or transparent release of information.”

“The selective release of data related only to certain individuals serves only to further erode the trust that so many victims and survivors hoped to rebuild,” the group said in a statement.

The lawmakers who lead the Legislature’s women’s caucus gave it a warmer reception.

“With this information comes the ability to act and uphold the zero tolerance policies of both the Senate and Assembly that have not always been followed,” said the statement from the caucus leaders, Democrats Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia of Bell Gardens and Senator Connie Leyva of Chino. “More importantly, transparency will foster an environment that enables the culture change we must have in our Capitol community where harassment of any kind is not tolerated or excused for any reason. This release is an important necessary next step so that we can create a workplace and society where everyone is valued and respected equally without fear of abuse or retaliation.”

The records show this about the conduct of elected officials:

Mendoza:

Sen. Tony Mendoza

Sen. Tony Mendoza

Although he is now a state senator, the 2010 complaint stems from Mendoza’s time as an assemblyman. The records describe him hugging a subordinate, sending her flirtatious text messages and inviting her out for dinner and drinks. The Assembly administrator at the time told him not to be so cozy with his staff.

Mendoza is currently on a leave of absence while the Senate investigates other harassment accusations against him, including more recent allegations that he invited a young staffer to his house late at night. The senator has denied any wrongdoing. He released a statement Friday saying the staff member who complained about him when he was an assemblyman “remained on staff without any issues in my Capitol office until the end of my term in 2012. We have remained in touch since and, in fact, I provided her with a letter of recommendation as recently as summer 2017.”

Hertzberg:

State Sen. Robert Hertzberg

Sen. Robert Hertzberg

The records say that while discussing paint colors in his office in 2015, Hertzberg pulled an employee close to him and “began to dance and sing a song to her.” Hertzberg—long known as “Hugsberg”—is currently under investigation by the Senate for other instances of unwelcome hugging. In response to the information released Friday, he said it was “a settled matter from several years ago, (involving) a single occurrence with a family member of someone I knew, and I’m sorry to her and anyone else who may have ever felt my hugs unwelcome.”

Allen:

The records describe three incidents when a female staffer complained about the assemblyman, including for giving her shoulders a squeeze and sliding his foot close to hers under a table. “I’m sure I’ve shaken many people’s hands, tapped many people on the shoulder, and have even tapped people’s feet accidentally. But there has never been anything in any of my actions that has been inappropriate, and nor will there ever be,” Allen said in a statement.

Burke:

Assemblywoman Autumn Burke

Assemblywoman Autumn Burke

The records say Assemblywoman Burke admitted participating in an inappropriate conversation with a staffer about sex. She responded Friday with a statement saying it was “an after-hours conversation in which my staff member shared a personal story about his experiences as a young gay man with me and a group of co-workers.” She went on to say that the complaint about the conversation came from a “disgruntled former staff member who participated in the conversation” and was angry over being fired.

The complaints about two former lawmakers concern incidents that have been reported in the past:

Bocanegra:

The 2009 complaint stems from Bocanegra’s time as a chief of staff to an assemblyman, though he went on to be elected to the Legislature in 2012. The records describe an incident previously reported by the Los Angeles Times, in which investigators determined that Bocanegra groped a staffer while they were at a political function at a nightclub. He was suspended from work for three days, the records say, and told to no longer talk to that staff member.

Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra

Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra

Bocanegra resigned from office in November after more women came forward with allegations that he had groped and harassed them, accusations he denies.

Wright: 

The 2011 complaint against Wright says he used “coarse and vulgar” language when talking with employees, an allegation he did not deny, the records state. The records say his conduct did not meet the legal definition of harassment but that it “contradicts the important policies and practices of this House.” The Senate paid a $120,000 settlement to an employee who complained about Wright’s behavior.

Wright left office in 2014 facing criminal charges that he had lied about his address while running for office to represent the Inglewood area while he actually lived in the swankier area of Baldwin Hills.

Fox:

The records about Fox, who served one term as an assemblyman from 2012 to 2014, are different from the rest. They are legal settlements in which the Assembly agreed to pay two staffers who sued him for harassment, but did not admit he did anything wrong. The Assembly paid out $100,000 in one case and $125,000 in the other.

You can see the records here:

Ben Christopher of CALmatters contributed to this report.

Want to submit a reader reaction? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Dan Morain with any questions, [email protected], (916) 201.6281.

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