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

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.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.