California House candidate Carl DeMaio's former policy director is accusing him of sexual harassment and attempted bribery, laying out sordid claims of repeated unwanted sexual contact.
DeMaio, an openly gay Republican locked in a tight race against Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), has gained national attention for his calls for the party to drop social issues from its platform and has been viewed as a rising star. House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRift widens between business groups and House GOP Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Debt ceiling games endanger US fiscal credibility — again MORE (R-Ohio) is scheduled to hold a fundraiser for DeMaio this weekend.
But the allegations could shatter that trajectory.
DeMaio's former campaign staffer, Todd Bosnich, tells CNN that DeMaio repeatedly sexually harassed him, grabbing his crotch and masturbating in front of him.
"I came over to his office, door was open. And he was masturbating," Bosnich said. "I saw his hand, his penis in his hand and he had a smile on his face. And as soon as I came over he was looking at me."
DeMaio flatly denies the allegations, painting Bosnich as a disgruntled former staffer who was fired for plagiarizing policy documents for the campaign's website and accusing him of breaking in and trashing the campaign office, an event which drew national headlines.
Bosnich says when he raised the issue with DeMaio's campaign manager the incident was laughed off, and the day after he confronted DeMaio directly about them, he was fired and offered $50,000 in severance if he signed a non-disclosure agreement.
"This is an individual that was let go by our campaign manager for plagiarism. A well-documented plagiarism incident of taking a report from the National Journal and passing it off as his own work," DeMaio told CNN in response. "He was terminated. He admitted that he plagiarized. He apologized for plagiarizing and when we told him he was no longer welcome in the staff and in the campaign office, even as a volunteer, he left. Days later, he broke in."
DeMaio had previously been accused of getting caught masturbating in a public city hall bathroom, charges he also vehemently denied.