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California Democratic Party settles Eric Bauman sexual harassment suit

Eric Bauman

Former chairman Eric Bauman has cost the California Democratic Party more than $800,000 in discrimination and sexual misconduct settlements, according to the Los Angeles Times. Photo: C-SPAN screen grab

Former chairman Eric Bauman has cost the California Democratic Party more than $800,000 in discrimination and sexual misconduct settlements, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A review of federal & state campaign finances and receipts by the Times, published Friday showed $378,348 in legal settlements for three lawsuits filed in January by Alton Wang, William Rodriguez-Kennedy, and Kate Earley who had accused Bauman of unwanted touching and sexually explicit comments.

$800,000 in settlements

The $800,000 sum also includes more than $430,000 in attorney’s fees alone, including payments to law firms representing Bauman, according to the Times.

“Our party is at its best when it lives up to our values. One of those values is treating people fairly,” California Democratic Party chairman Rusty Hicks said in a statement to The Times. “We have reached an equitable settlement that begins the process of getting back to the work 9 million California Democrats expect from us.”

Eric Bauman

Bauman, the party’s first openly gay chairman, resigned his post in November after 10 staff members and political activists alleged sexual harassment and misconduct in a Times story. Sources interviewed by the paper claimed Bauman “made crude sexual comments and engaged in unwanted touching or physical intimidation in professional settings.”

Eric Bauman Sexual Harassment

In this November 2018 photo, Eric Bauman smiles about the “Blue Wave” in California. Photo: Facebook.

“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.”

Lawsuits, lawsuits

Bauman’s tenure as party chair had been problematic even as his election to chair in 2017 had only garnered 51% support.

Bauman was sued in the spring by former and current party staff members. In one case filed April 24 in Los Angeles Superior Court, William Floyd, 28, who had served as Bauman’s assistant from March 2016 to November 2018, claimed Bauman performed oral sex on him without his consent on three occasions.

The Times also noted that several other cases brought against Bauman by former party staffers remain active or pending litigation.

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