Congressman Tony Cardenas is not competing in the 24th Congressional District, but his name is being tossed around nonetheless.
This week, Republican candidate Justin Fareed called on his opponent, Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) to return $20,000 in donations “from BOLD PAC in light of serious sexual assault allegations which have been brought against BOLD PAC’s chair.”
“BOLD PAC’s chair, Tony Cardenas, is facing credible allegations that he drugged and molested a teenage girl. FEC filings showed that Carbajal received $10,000 from BOLD PAC on June 25, 2015, and $10,000 on March 27, 2017,” Fareed said in a press release.
“Salud Carbajal portrays himself as a protector of women’s and survivors’ rights while at the same time benefiting from these dirty funds. Salud has been aware of these credible, disturbing allegations against Tony Cardenas since they came to light in May but has refused to comment and kept the money. He should, at the very least, immediately return the $20,000 he’s received from BOLD PAC,” Fareed added.
This influence, and a secure Democratic seat in the Congressional District 29 (from Van Nuys to Sylmar and from Sun Valley to Lake Balboa) held by Cardenas is the reason why critics say his party has not come out against him.
“How are the Democrats attacking Kavanaugh when (D) Congressman Tony Cardenas is facing sexual allegations of a minor that claims to be have been drugged? Where’s the outrage here? (sic),” Benito Bernal, Republican challenger for the Nov. 6 election against Cardenas, wrote on Twitter.
The incumbent Congressman – who garnered 67 percent of the votes in the June primary – is almost assured a win a month from now against the transportation supervisor. But that’s not stopping people from his district to call on him to resign amidst the sexual attack allegations.
Protestors at Field Office
A handful of people showed up early in the morning at Cardenas’ office in Panorama City on Oct. 5 asking for his resignation while the Congressman faces allegations of sexual assault of a minor from the time he was a member of the Los Angeles City Council.
Cardenas has denied the accusations. A trial is scheduled for August 2019.
Cardenas, who co-founded the bipartisan Congressional Student-Athlete Protection Caucus, is being sued in Los Angeles Superior Court for allegedly drugging and fondling a then 16-year-old girl in 2007.
The complainant says in her accusation that Cardenas invited her to a golf outing at the Hillcrest Country Club. During the golf game she “collapsed to the ground” after receiving a drink of iced water from him that “tasted distinctly different from both tap and filtered water.”
Cardenas took her to the hospital, but during the trip, he allegedly reached under her clothes and fondled her breasts and genitals.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled in late September that the woman could amend her complaint to add new facts, and an allegation of negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Cardenas has set up a legal defense fund to cover attorney fees stemming from the case, which means he can receive contributions of up to $5,000 from donors.
Former state Assemblymember Patty Lopez, who has been a long-time critic of Cardenas, spearheaded the Oct. 5 protest when she and the other demonstrators tried to enter his office, but were not allowed.
They found the front door locked. A person who answered the intercom claimed that they needed an appointment to come inside and only passed them some documents the protestors asked for through a small slit on the door.
Like Bernal, Lopez accuses Democrats of having a “double standard” — criticizing and calling for an investigation over judge Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault allegations on one hand, but not doing the same against Cardenas.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) has called for an ethics committee to investigate Cardenas, but so far it’s not clear they will do so.
“(Democrats) know they need that seat against Trump and that’s why they’re not doing anything,” said Lopez, on why she claims the party has “protected him.”
She said she’s “disgusted” by the allegations, which she believes are true.
“But money can silence people, silence the conscience and integrity, and I don’t want my representative to be that way,” Lopez said.
“If he committed a crime, he should go to jail. We are on the side of justice.”
Marco Juarez, who held a sign reading “Shame on you Cardenas,” and who admitted to voting for the Congressman in June, said the allegations are enough for Cardenas’ resignation.
“He should resign, he should be in jail. There has to be justice for the minor. I wouldn’t want that to happen to my granddaughters,” Juarez said.
Maria Jaquez, who worked with his family as a volunteer in previous Cardenas’ political campaigns, has also soured on the politician.
“He’s become somewhat like a God. He thinks no one can touch him,” said the Sun Valley resident.
Jaquez was finishing her comments when a man stopped his car, got out and got into a shouting match with the protesters.
“You should have people registering to vote,” the man, who refused to identify himself, told the demonstrators.
When he spotted a man wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, he doubled on them and told them, “Donald Trump ain’t (expletive).”
He then turned around and went back to his car, followed by the protesters who later claimed he was a “friend of Cardenas.”
The protest was indeed a bipartisan affair.
Republican David Hernandez — who does not live in Cardenas’ district, although he said his mother does — took part as well as Harim Uzziel, a supporter of Donald Trump who calls himself “The Hardcore American Patriot” and who was live blogging the protest for his social media fans.
Both said political affiliation has nothing to do with their criticism of Cardenas.
“We are standing up with a 16-year-old to protest with other patriots who are defenseless,” Uzziel said.
For his part, Hernandez noted that while they knew the protests and calls for resignation may not derail Cardenas’ election bid, it is meant to also show support for the victim in the case.
“We want to let her know that there are members of the community that support her,” Hernandez said. “You don’t have to suffer in silence. Whoever it is (that assaulted you), don’t be afraid to come forward.”
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