The House Committee on Ethics approved a defense fund that allows California Democratic Rep. Tony Cardenas to receive up to $5,000 annually from donors to cover legal costs for a molestation allegation against him, the Daily Caller reported.
“Cardenas was accused of drugging and molesting a 16-year-old girl whose father worked for him at the time in 2007, when he was a Los Angeles City Council member, according to reports by Politico. The girl, who was a rising golfer, went with the Democratic lawmaker to a golfing event and collapsed after drinking a glass of water that Cardenas gave her, which she recalls ‘tasted distinctly different from both tap and filtered water.’
“The girl alleged that en route to the hospital, Cardenas touched her breasts and genitals. She did not tell anyone because she feared his power and influence in the community, according to Politico.”
Because the incident happened before Cardenas became a congressman, it may not be enough to initiate an investigation by the Ethics Committee. However, because the congressman employed the accuser’s father, that may give the committee a further reason to investigate the claims brought to the table, although it is unclear if they will.
Cardenas has denied the allegations, saying they are “100 percent, categorically untrue,” according to the Los Angeles Daily News. He has since gone on to win the primary in California and will face off against Republican candidate Benny Bernal in the race for California’s 29th House district seat.