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State Senator Tony Mendoza Stripped of Leadership Positions Pending Investigation

Tony Mendoza

 

The Senate Rules Committee voted yesterday to strip state Sen. Tony Mendoza of his leadership positions that include chair of the banking committee, pending the outcome of an investigation into sexual harassment allegations by three women against the Democratic lawmaker from Artesia.

The bipartisan, five-member Rules Committee voted without comment to suspend Mendoza as chairman of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee and as a member of the state Commission for Economic Development and the California Workforce Development Fund.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), who chairs the Rules Committee, said recently that the suspension, and plans to hire an independent, outside law firm to investigate complaints of sexual harassment, are necessary to increase the safety of employees and protect whistleblowers.

Mendoza, who did not attend Monday’s meeting, has denied sexually harassing former employees and a young woman assigned to his office by the Senate Fellows program.

Mendoza said later in the day he appreciates the move to an outside counsel for the investigation. “I understand the Rules Committee’s decision to relieve me from the committee chairmanship to remove any perception of bias during its investigation of the unsubstantiated allegations against me,” the senator said in a statement.

I welcome Senate Rules Committee’s decision to seek outside Counsel and establish a fair process. I cannot comment as I am still restrained by the Senate’s directions to me to not comment or respond to allegations.”

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