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August 14, 2013

#WarOnWomen: At Least Three Women Reported Filner's Misbehavior to the Democratic Party, and The Party Did Nothing, Because They Had Hopes of a Political Victory

Behold, the story no one else in the media will even ask about.

In 2011, at least three women warned the head of the San Diego County Democratic Party of stories in the community about then-Rep. Bob Filner making inappropriate advances toward professional women with whom he'd come in contact through his political position.

Former California State Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, San Diego County Democratic Central Committee member Martha Sullivan, and Escondido City Council member Olga Diaz all brought uncomfortable incidents to the attention of Jess Durfee, who was until the end of 2012 Democratic Party chairman for San Diego, the eighth-largest city in America.

What happened next illustrates the enormous challenge the situation presented to local Democrats, who were looking to Filner as their best shot at retaking the mayor's seat in the heavily Republican community for the first time since 1992. It also reveals the party's short-sighted and ultimately self-destructive failure to do due diligence on the accusations, which were presented to the party secondhand and yet failed to trigger any kind of substantive investigation, or even an intra-party conversation with a lawyer.

***

"I began hearing these consistent stories of inappropriate behavior, where he would segue from, say, a site visit to their school and follow them back into area away from other people on the visit, and start to proposition them and get physical with them and ask them out on dates or even grab them in public, in front of other people," Saldaña said. "As I had these conversations over a period of several days and heard these consistent stories about his behavior, I started connecting the dots and went to the county party chairman and said, 'I think we have a problem here'."

She brought six women's stories to Durfee in the summer of 2011, she said, though she did not have any direct experience of inappropriate conduct herself.
We're all wondering, 'Why didn't the chairman listen to our concerns?

"We're all wondering, 'Why didn't the chairman listen to our concerns?'" Saldaña said. "His defense now is that he spoke to Filner privately and Filner assured him no one had filed a formal complaint .... I mean, he wasn't harassing people in his office the way he's accused of now. He was harassing constituents, or professional women who basically needed to maintain a working relationship with him. So of course they weren't going to file a formal complaint against a seated congressman."

...

But let's cut to the chase of the main takeaway from Durfee's "investigation" of Filner's behavior, which consisted of only slightly more than asking Filner himself if he harassed women.

"He felt very confident nothing would come up during the campaign," Durfee recalled. "He assured me that would not happen. He emphasized that. He said, 'In all my years in Congress, I've never had a sexual harassment complaint against me.'"

Emphasis added to emphasize his emphasis.

Durfee's "investigation" then proceeded to asking Filner's office managers if he hit on women in his office. They said he didn't. (It later turned out he did.) He didn't bother asking a lawyer for his opinion on the the need for further investigation, or about the city's ultimate potential liability should Filner tell one of his employers she should stop wearing panties to work. (He did do that.)

Durfee says he did not take the complaints to the central committee.

That said, it continues to be unbelievable to me that Nancy Pelosi did not hear all about this years ago.

People gossip about being grabbed, kissed, slobbered on, and skeeved on. It's what they do.

And Washington, DC, is a very small town, and everyone works for the same damn industry. It's far less diverse a city than even movie-dominated LA.

It is simply not believable that the national Democratic Party didn't know this. Almost all of his victims were Democrats themselves, women coming to him with Congressional business, etc.

Are we to believe that Democratic women don't tell other Democratic women when a sitting Congressman pats their ass and drools on their face?


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posted by Ace at 08:01 PM

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