California Democratic Party Chair Resigns Amid Allegations of Sexual Assault and Harassment

“A clear and escalating pattern of…horrific and dehumanizing behavior.”

Eric Bauman speaking in Los Angeles in 2016Keith Birmingham/Zuma

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Last February, as California’s Legislature was reeling from a sexual misconduct scandal, Eric Bauman, the chairman of the California Democratic Party, told the Associated Press, “Though nobody ever talked about it or knew about it, there have been some of these problems at prior Democratic Party events.” He added, “It’s not going to happen on my watch.”

Now, nine months after his promise, Bauman is resigning amid sexual assault and harassment allegations of his own. His resignation comes less than a week after the allegations first came to light, when an internal letter sent by state party vice chair Daraka Larimore-Hall accusing Bauman of “a clear and escalating pattern of…horrific and dehumanizing behavior” was leaked.

In the days that followed, the party launched an independent investigation, Bauman took a leave of absence, and Larimore-Hall stated that more people came forward with complaints. On Wednesday, in response to a Los Angeles Times article citing 10 people who accused  Bauman of inappropriate touching and making crude comments, he said he would seek treatment for health and alcohol issues. Bauman’s behavior had been going on for more than a decade, according to those who spoke with the Times. “People just didn’t know how to speak up about it,” said one political consultant.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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