CA Dems Slam Kavanaugh While Remaining Silent on Ellison, Cardenas, and Cisneros

Porter, Levin, Hill, Rouda have campaigned and attended fundraisers alongside Cisneros, who has been accused of sexual harassment

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee / Getty

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Several California Democrats running for Congress have lambasted Republicans for their handling of a 36-year-old sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh this week while remaining silent about #MeToo charges women have leveled against three Democrats.

Gil Cisneros, a fellow Congressional candidate who in May, during the Democratic primary, was accused by a fellow Democrat of a sexual pay-for-play earlier that year.

Since the accusation was leveled, four Democratic candidates in California—Katie Porter, Mike Levin, Katie Hill, and Harley Rouda—and several Democratic members of Congress have openly campaigned and attended fundraisers with Cisneros while remaining silent about the accusation against him.

The four all attended a major Labor Day weekend campaign event in California earlier this month headlined by former President Barack Obama.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D., Calif.) who was widely criticized for blasting Kavanaugh for his anger during his Thursday testimony and asking what he would be like inebriated, also attended the same July fundraiser the four California Democratic candidates attended, which was hosted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Equality California.

Levin and Hill accepted endorsements and political donations from the political action campaign Cardenas runs, according to election filings compiled by opensecrets.org.

Despite the numerous calls from the candidates and Lieu for Republicans to stand up for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of attempted rape when he was 17, and for all women accusers, Lieu and the Democratic candidates have remained silent on whether the allegations Cisneros’ accuser has made warrant further investigation.

The group has also remained silent about domestic violence accusations against Rep. Keith Ellison and a lawsuit accusing Rep. Tony Cardenas (R., Calif.) of drugging and molested a 16-year-old girl in 2007.

Cisneros, Ellison, and Cardenas have all firmly denied the charges. Ellison, who is running for Minnesota attorney general, called for a House Ethics Committee investigation this week in an effort to clear his name.

Porter is running against Rep. Mimi Walters (R., Calif.) in the 45th district; Levin is running against Diane Harkey for the open seat in the 49th district, which Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) is vacating; Hill is running against Rep. Steve Knight (R., Calif.) in the 25th district; and Rouda is running in the 48th district against Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R., Calif.). 

None of the Democratic candidates responded to questions from the Washington Free Beacon about whether they support further investigation of the #MeToo charges against Ellison, Cardenas, or Cisneros.

After blasting Republicans over Twitter all week for their handling of the Kavanaugh controversy, while saying nothing about those accusing Democrats and pointedly declining to respond to direct questions about it, Porter on Friday began to change the tone of her tweets to signal that all claims of sexual assault should be taken seriously "regardless of party and political connections."

"By confirming Kavanaugh without a thorough FBI investigation tells survivors nationwide that you don't matter," she tweeted on Friday, along with the well-circulated video of a woman confronting Sen. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) in a U.S. Capitol elevator. "Your stories don't make a difference. That is wrong. We must take *all* claims of sexual assault seriously regardless of party or political connections."

Porter in May disclosed her own #MeToo experience, that she was forced to obtain a protective order against her now-ex-husband in 2013 after enduring physical and verbal abuse that caused her to call law enforcement multiple times.

Her campaign did not follow up to a request for comment on whether that means she will be calling for an investigation of the allegations against Cisneros, Ellison, and Cardenas.

Levin, who took $10,000 from the Cardenas-run PAC, has yet to say anything about the need to believe all accusers regardless of party or stand up for those accusing Cisneros, Ellison or Cardenas of misconduct against women.

Instead, he has trained his Twitter criticism on Republicans and the Kavanaugh controversy.

"Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee won't consult the FBI, or hear testimony from key witnesses, and won’t listen to any shreds of conscience they might have," Levin tweeted Friday.

"We won’t forget," he added.

Rouda also took to Twitter to blast Rohrabacher for not taking the Blasey Ford allegations seriously because they alleged assault occurred in high school.

"My opponent has downplayed the serious allegations that have been brought forth against Judge Kavanaugh, equating it to high school behavior," he tweeted. "The American people deserve real leadership on this issue not a Representative who dismisses Professor Ford's experience as trivial."

Hill stood up for Julie Swetnick, the third woman to come forward against Kavanaugh who accused Kavanaugh of participating in high school parties in the early 1980s in which she suggested that woman were "gang raped" and "verbally abused" and made "disoriented" with alcohol. Swetnick is represented by attorney Michael Avenatti.

"Julie Swetnick risked everything to come forward with her story and she is not alone. This is not about the Supreme Court, this is about believing women and protecting survivors," she tweeted. "I've lived this reality and I know why so many of us never report."

Hill previously tweeted out two videos of her explaining why she did not report #MeToo experiences and calling on people to stand up for women accusers and believe them.

Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree   Email Susan | Full Bio | RSS
Susan Crabtree is a senior writer for the Washington Free Beacon. She is a veteran Washington reporter who has covered the White House and Congress over the past two decades. She has written for the Washington Examiner, the Washington Times, the Hill newspaper, Roll Call, and Congressional Quarterly.

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