State lawmaker from O.C. loses duties after investigators find history of sex harassment

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Assemblyman Bill Brough is seen in a photo posted to his Facebook page in December 2014.
Assemblyman Bill Brough is seen in a photo posted to his Facebook page in December 2014.

Officials removed a lame-duck California state lawmaker from his committee assignments on Wednesday after investigators found that he twice sexually harassed women, including by insinuating that he could help one politically if she went home with him.

The state Assembly’s investigators found that Republican Assemblyman Bill Brough also inappropriately touched an unnamed woman on one of the two occasions.

Redacted letters to Brough and the accuser say he put his hand on the small of her back and told her he did not live far from the bar where they were and that she should come hang out with him.

“Come on, you know you need to party,” the complaint says he told her.

The other accuser said Brough made her feel uncomfortable and insinuated that he could help her politically if she went to his apartment with him.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced that he is removing Brough from his committee assignments. He also ordered Brough to take harassment, discrimination and retaliation prevention training.

Brough did not immediately return telephone and emailed messages to his offices in Sacramento and San Juan Capistrano. He previously called the accusations politically motivated.

He lost his bid for reelection when he finished fourth among five candidates in the March primary election after his own party sought to oust him over sexual harassment and campaign finance allegations.

Orange County and state Republican Party leaders endorsed Laguna Niguel Mayor Laurie Davies in the 73rd Assembly District. She is headed to the November general election against Democratic candidate Scott Rhinehart for what is considered a safe Republican seat in south Orange County.

State Republican Party Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson in a statement called the findings against Brough “truly disheartening and distressing” and said party leaders’ thoughts are with the “heroic” women who made the difficult choice to come forward.

California’s campaign watchdog is still investigating allegations that Brough used campaign funds to fly his family to a Boston Red Sox baseball game, among other alleged extravagant spending.

“The Brough case is still open, an investigation in progress,” Fair Political Practices Commission spokesman Jay Wierenga said Wednesday.

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