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California Democrat facing possible discipline after sexual misconduct allegations

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Members of the California state Senate are scheduled Wednesday to consider disciplinary action against a Democrat who “more likely than not” made inappropriate sexual advances toward six women, including four subordinates.

The allegations against Sen. Tony Mendoza were the subject of a recently concluded independent investigation.

Investigators spoke to 47 witnesses, including Mendoza, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The findings, released Tuesday, that found Mendoza “more likely than not” engaged in behavior such as offering a 19-year-old intern alcohol in a hotel suite at a Democratic Party event, suggesting a young woman in a Senate fellowship take a vacation with him and rent a room in his house, and asked several of the women about their dating lives.

Several accusations against Mendoza first became public last fall in a report by the Sacramento Bee. Under pressure from other lawmakers, Mendoza took a leave of absence. He was suspended after his leave of absence was expected to end before the independent investigation into the claims could be concluded.

Mendoza sued for reinstatement last Thursday, arguing the suspension was unconstitutional and he was being treated differently than other colleagues also under investigation.

The California Legislature is one of many statehouses nationwide grappling with a tidal wave of sexual misconduct allegations following the #MeToo movement in which millions of women shared their experiences with sexual harassment or assault on social media.

Mendoza is the only lawmaker who has been suspended since allegations of sexual misconduct at the Capitol broke last fall. Two assemblymen voluntarily resigned, and their seats haven’t been filled.

Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who has denied accusations including groping, took a voluntary leave of absence last Friday.

Sen. Bob Hertzberg is also facing an investigation after at least three female colleagues alleged he made them uncomfortable with hugs. He has not been asked to step aside.

As early as Thursday, the chamber could vote to censure, expel, suspend or reinstate Mendoza.

Mendoza called the investigation “unfair and secret.” He warned action against him by his colleagues could set a “dangerous precedent.”

“Past precedent has been to only expel members who have been convicted of a felony,” Mendoza said in a statement released late Tuesday. “This raises the stakes for future perceived infractions by members of this body.”

Mendoza will be allowed to defend himself on the Senate floor.

The investigation found no instances of Mendoza being “physically aggressive” or “sexually crude.” But the women “understood that Mendoza was suggesting sexual contact,” the report said.

In two cases, the report found the Los Angeles-area senator stopped when asked by either the woman or human resources staff.

The investigation does not name any of the women, although some have previously spoken to media. Four worked for Mendoza, while a fifth is a lobbyist and a sixth was a Senate fellow in another office.

The incidents span from 2007 to 2017, covering both Mendoza’s time in the Assembly and in the Senate.

The investigation outlines three other cases that weren’t publicly known.

It cleared him of allegations he fired three staff members who reported his behavior toward the Senate fellow last fall. One of the former employees has filed a complaint with the state alleging retaliation.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Brexit bonanza: Unshackling from EU lands UK £4billion shot in the arm, new study shows

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BREXIT has given the UK economy a timely shot in the arm amounting to two percent of GDP – equal to almost £4billion – largely because unshackling itself from the EU enabled Britain to get a vital head-start on the vaccination rollout, a new analysis has indicated.

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Get over it! Juncker admits MAJOR Brexit mistake – 'I shouldn't have listened to Cameron!'

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JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER has admitted he should not have listened to David Cameron during Brexit in a major revelation today.

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GOP Reps. Greene, Gosar try to distance from ‘Anglo-Saxon’ traditions document

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Two far-right House Republicans linked to a document outlining a policy platform calling for the protection of “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” distanced themselves from what they called a draft of prescriptions for a new “America First Caucus.”

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., said in a Saturday statement that he “did not author” the document in circulation and only became aware of it after it was reported by the news media, adding that he “will continue to work on America First issues in the House Freedom Caucus.”

“Let me be perfectly clear, I did not author this paper,” he said. “In fact, I first became aware of it by reading about it in the news yesterday, like everyone else.”

Additionally, Nick Dyer, a spokesperson for Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., said in a statement that the document was merely “an early planning proposal and nothing was agreed to or approved.”

When the document first surfaced Friday, Dyer assailed “dirty backstabbing swamp creatures” for sharing the document with Punchbowl News, which first reported on its contents and said the effort was linked to Gosar and Greene. “Be on the look out for the release of the America First Caucus platform when it’s announced to the public very soon,” he added.

Greene herself released a statement Saturday calling the platform “a staff level draft proposal from an outside group that I hadn’t read.”

The outline for the new group contained a number of nativist ideas that Democrats lambasted as racist while some Republicans have also condemned the effort. The seven-page organizing document, which includes the group’s name and a logo, says: “America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”

It adds that “societal trust and political unity are threatened when foreign citizens are imported en-masse into a country, particularly without institutional support for assimilation and an expansive welfare state to bail them out should they fail to contribute positively to the country.”

The document backs new infrastructure projects so long as they are in keeping with “the progeny of European architecture, whereby public infrastructure must be utilitarian as well as stunningly, classically beautiful, befitting a world power and source of freedom.”

Soon after the document’s release Friday, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, told reporters he was considering joining the group and confirmed Greene’s involvement with it, adding though that he had not seen the platform language about Anglo-Saxon traditions.

“It’s not supposed to be about race at all,” he said. “We’re stronger as diversified. But there are some things that help make us strong. Slavery nearly destroyed us.”

Gosar and Greene both have faced backlash this year — Greene for her promotion of conspiracy theories, which led Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to condemn her for spreading “loony lies” and the Democratic-controlled House removing her from committees in February, and Gosar for speaking at “Stop the Steal, promoting the Jan. 6 rally ahead of the Capitol riot and spreading falsehoods about the 2020 election.

Among the Republicans who pushed back on the platform included Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who tweeted Republicans “teach our children the values of tolerance, decency and moral courage.”

“Racism, nativism, and anti-Semitism are evil,” she continued. “History teaches we all have an obligation to confront & reject such malicious hate.”

Speaking with NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, blasted the “so-called America First Caucus” as “one of the nuttiest things I’ve ever seen.”

“Listen, America is a land of immigration,” he said. “We’ve been the world’s giant melting pot for 250 years. And we ought to celebrate the fact that we are this giant melting pot. And to see some members of Congress go off and start this America First Caucus, it’s the silliest thing I’ve ever seen. And Republicans need to denounce it.

Amanda Golden contributed.



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