Sacramento - Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) has drafted a resolution (text below) to expel Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) from the California State Senate. Vidak issued this statement:
"Many of us have been waiting for Senator Mendoza to do the right thing and resign, but that has not happened. The Senate Democrat Leadership has failed in their responsibility to request that Mendoza resign. Apparently, they're still interviewing law firms.
"I plan to bring this resolution up on January 3rd. A simple suspension, with or without pay, is not an enough. Two Senate staffers have been fired, a Sacramento State employee is on 'indefinite leave,' and three women staffers have been sexually harassed, yet, Mendoza still holds the position of Senator.
"Hopefully, the incoming pro-Tem will take this matter more serious than it has been so far. Then again, in 2014 when Senator Joel Anderson, then-Senator Steve Knight and I introduced SR 29 to expel Rod Wright - a convicted felon - the Democrat and Republican Leadership blocked us and let Wright stay in the Senate an additional seven months."
CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE- 2017-2018 REGULAR SESSION
SENATE RESOLUTION No. __
Introduced by Senator Vidak
January 3, 2018
Relative to the expulsion of Senator Tony Mendoza
WHEREAS, on November 10, 2017 reports began appearing in the media about three former women staff members of Senator Tony Mendoza that complained about him sexually harassing them; and
WHEREAS, one woman - Jennifer Kwart - was 19 years old in 2008 when she worked as an intern in then-Assemblymember Mendoza's Norwalk District office; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Kwart reported that in 2008 then-Assemblymember Mendoza arranged for her to fly to San Jose during the 2008 Democrat Party Convention, "picked her up from the airport and took her to a hotel suite. At his suggestion, they had drinks from the mini-bar;" and
WHEREAS, the Sacramento Bee has reported that Mendoza's campaign finance reports from 2008 verify "two charges of $409 and $703.20 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose for candidate travel, lodging or meals and a $134.50 payment to Southwest Airlines for spouse or staff travel, lodging or meals. The hotel is three blocks from the San Jose McHenry Convention Center," and
WHEREAS, Ms. Kwart reported that in the hotel room then-Assemblymember Mendoza began asking "her personal questions about her ex-boyfriends and her taste in men;" and
WHEREAS, Ms. Kwart reported that "she believed Mendoza implied he wanted to have sex with her;" and
WHEREAS, Ms. Kwart reported "Then and now, I feel like I was very trapped. I was in a place that I had never been to before. I didn't have a car and I didn't have a way out," and
WHEREAS, Ms. Kwart reported that she later "faked a phone call to excuse herself. She secretly called her mother and asked her to book a flight home immediately. She told Mendoza that her grandfather suffered a stroke and she would have to return to Los Angeles" and
WHEREAS, the Sacramento Bee reports that Kwart's mother "recalls advising her daughter on how to safely navigate the situation via texts and phone calls," and
WHEREAS, a second woman - Haley Myers - who worked for then-Assemblyman Mendoza in 2010 reported that "Mendoza repeatedly sent her text messages, some late at night with comments such as 'thinking of you' and ending with a smiley face. He singled out Myers, then 30 and married, to attend after-hours events with him, she said, including several occasions in which she found herself alone with Mendoza over drinks or dinner" and
WHEREAS, as reported by the Sacramento Bee, "In September 2010, Mendoza invited Myers to join him for a long weekend at a conference in Pebble Beach. Myers said she was suspicious and asked for details about the work that would be expected from her on the trip. In response he (Mendoza) said accommodations were nice and described the resort town as beautiful, she said. She declined and mentioned that her and her husband were celebrating their anniversary" and
WHEREAS, Myers reported Mendoza's behavior to Rene Bayardo, then-Assemblymember Mendoza's legislative director who reported the matter to the Assembly Rules Committee; and
WHEREAS, Bayardo stated to the Sacramento Bee, "The behavior Haley described to me was alarming, and as a supervisor I had a legal and ethical obligation to report it;" and
WHEREAS, an Assembly Rules Committee staff member "agreed to tell Mendoza not to contact her (Myers) in a non-professional manner and that he could not retaliate against either (Myers or Bayardo);" and
WHEREAS, an Assembly Rules Committee staff member followed up with Myers afterward and described Mendoza as "perplexed and confused;" and
WHEREAS, a third woman - a 23-year old Senate Fellow assigned to Mendoza's Capitol Office - was, during the summer of 2017, repeatedly invited by Mendoza to visit him at night in a home he then shared with Senator President pro-Tem Kevin de Leon, on the pretext of reviewing her resume; and
WHEREAS, two Senate Staff members that reported Mendoza's inappropriate behavior to the Senate Rules Committee have recently been fired; and
WHEREAS, the Senate Fellowship Director at the time who allegedly did not report Senator Mendoza's behavior has been put on "indefinite leave" by Sacramento State University; and
WHEREAS, Senator Mendoza's responses and statements about the reports of the three women have been vague, non-denials attempting to place blame on so-called misunderstandings, miscommunications and media seeking to generate advertising sales; and
WHEREAS, to this direct question from a Sacramento Bee reporter: "At a party at the Mix (a downtown Sacramento nightclub), did you (Senate Mendoza) tell the fellow in your office that she could come back to your house to go over her resume that night (August 31) this year (2017)?" Mendoza's response was "Generally speaking, I would offer assistance to any of our employees seeking higher-ranking positions in ours or other offices."
WHEREAS, Senator Mendoza has clearly violated at least 10 "Senate Standards of Conduct:"
- "First - Each Senator shall conduct himself or herself so as to justify the high trust reposed in him or her by the people and to promote public confidence in the integrity of the Senate;
- Second - A Senator or officer or employee of the Senate shall not engage in unethical conduct or tolerate such conduct by others;
- Third (c) - A Senator shall not use the prestige of his or her office, and an officer or employee of the Senate shall not use the status of his or her position, for material or financial gain or private benefit;
- Fourth (d) - Each Senator shall fairly characterize the issues confronting the Legislature and accurately inform the public regarding the conduct of his or her office;
- Fifth - Each Senator and each officer or employee of the Senate has an obligation to the public and to his or her colleagues to be informed about, and abide by, the rules that govern the proceedings of the Senate and the Legislature;
- Sixth - Each Senator, and each officer or employee of the Senate, acting in a position of leadership shall exercise his or her power and carry out his or her responsibility so as to enhance reasoned and visible decision-making by the Senate;
- Seventh - Each Senator has an obligation to treat each officer or employee of the Senate with fairness and without discrimination, and to ensure that each officer or employee performs only those tasks for which there is a legislative or governmental purpose;
- Eighth - Each officer or employee of the Senate has an obligation to perform his or her properly assigned duties using his or her best judgment with diligence and a duty of loyalty to the Senate as an institution;
- Tenth - Each Senator and each officer or employee of the Senate shall uphold the Constitution of California and the Constitution of the United States, and shall adhere to the spirit and the letter of the laws, rules, and regulations governing officeholder conduct;
- Eleventh - Each Senator and each officer or employee of the Senate shall conduct himself or herself in the performance of his or her duties in a manner that does not discredit the Senate.
WHEREAS, serving in the California Legislature is not a right, but rather a privilege and honor entrusted to us by the voters of California;
WHEREAS, Senator Mendoza has violated that trust by repeatedly using his office in both houses of the Legislature to target and prey upon women working for him;
WHEREAS, women working in, volunteering in or visiting the Capitol and District offices of California legislators, have a right to feel safe and a right to have protections against retaliation if they have concerns or complaints about their treatment;
WHEREAS, Senator Mendoza has demonstrated through his actions that he does not truly comprehend the serious predicaments he has placed these women in and damage he has done to them and to the reputation of the Legislature;
WHEREAS, Senator Mendoza has compromised his ability to provide effective representation for the residents of the 32nd District;
WHEREAS, the Assembly co-chair of the California Legislative Women's Caucus has stated she will no longer work with Senator Mendoza;
WHEREAS, The oath of office that state Senators swear to uphold upon taking office reads as follows: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter"; and
WHEREAS, Subdivision (a) of Section 5 of Article IV of the California Constitution provides as follows: "Each house shall judge the qualifications and elections of its Members and, by roll call vote entered in the journal, two thirds of the membership concurring, may expel a Member"; and
WHEREAS, The California State Senate convenes in a chamber under a portrait of George Washington - a symbol of dedication and integrity; and
WHEREAS, Senator Mendoza has had, since November 10, 2017, the option of resigning from the Senate but has not done so; and
WHEREAS, The Senate leadership has had, since November 10, 2017, the option of requesting Senator Mendoza to resign from the Senate but has not done so; and
WHEREAS, under the power and authority conferred by the California Constitution, the full Senate can, by a two-thirds vote of the membership, expel a Senator; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, two-thirds of the membership concurring, that pursuant to the authority conferred by Section 5 of Article IV of the California Constitution, Senator Tony Mendoza, representing the 32nd Senate District, is hereby expelled from the California State Senate for violating several Senate Standards of Conduct cited above, effective immediately.