#MeToo Lawmaker Faces 'Spin the Bottle' Accusation

Staffers say there was pressure to drink in Cristina Garcia's office
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2018 3:47 AM CST
#MeToo Lawmaker Faces New Misconduct Claims
Assemblywomen Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, left, Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, center, and Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, listen as members of the women's caucus in the state Senate read a letter from the victim in the Stanford sexual assault case.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

A former aide is suing California assemblywoman and #MeToo advocate Cristina Garcia, claiming the Democrat fired him for not wanting to play "spin the bottle" in her hotel room after a night of heavy drinking at a fundraiser in 2014. David John Kernick says he was written up for insubordination the day after he called the suggestion inappropriate and was fired two days later, Sacramento Bee reports. But Tim Reardon, who was Garcia's chief of staff in 2014, says Kernick was fired after being warned for not doing his job. The allegations against Garcia are "like a malicious, really bizarre alternate universe built on a lot of innuendo and lies solely to destroy [the] character of Assemblywoman Garcia," he says.

Garcia, who chaired the Legislative Women's Caucus, is already on a voluntary, unpaid leave of absence amid other allegations of sexual misconduct, including groping. Three other former Garcia staffers—who joined Kernick in signing an open letter denouncing the "toxic" atmosphere in her office—tell Politico that working for Garcia included being pressured to join her at events where she drank heavily, and listening to her talk extensively about her sex life. "It wasn't a two-way street. It was usually just us listening," one female former staffer says. "I thought it was weird. It came off as sort of bragging." A lobbyist says Garcia's office contained a "keginator"—a fridge that dispenses draft beer—and she offered lobbyists cups of beer during a late-morning meeting. (Read more California stories.)

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