SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A lawmaker is under fire as a committee discussed disciplinary actions. State Senator Tony Mendoza was expected to be at the capitol today but never showed up. Instead, he sent a letter describing his position.
“These are very difficult things to look into,” said Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova).
The joint rules committee, which Assemblyman Ken Cooley chairs, made no mention Wednesday of embattled Senator Tony Mendoza. But lawmakers say disciplinary action is the next step forward.
“It’s sad. I think it’s sad to have the failings of people brought out in such a public way,” he said.
Senator Mendoza (D-Artesia) has also made public his own concerns over his right to due process.
In a letter to his Senate colleagues (read the full .PDF), Mendoza says he’s not seen the final report, uncovering details into his alleged misconduct.
He also says he isn’t allowed to attend the Senate hearing that determines whether he’s to be censured, suspended, or expelled.
Lawmakers say the facts are out.
According to outside attorneys, the Senator likely engaged in unwanted “flirtatious or sexually suggestive behavior” with six women he worked with.
And they say, regardless of how Mendoza is disciplined, his case will set a precedent in the legislature.
“It is important for our democracy to hold a high standard,” said Cooley.
But Cooley is not commenting on his closer colleague in the assembly Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens).
The vocal #metoo advocate remains on a temporary leave of absence pending an investigation into claims she groped one staffer and played spin the bottle with another.
They’re claims she denies.
But as Mendoza ramps up his defense, sources say they’re preparing for an uncomfortable discussion, deciding his fate.
That discussion is expected to happen at the Senate’s regularly scheduled hearing 9am Thursday.