Friendly Fire: Dems Resurface Cárdenas’s Links to Violent Porn Producer to Hurt Bid for DCCC Chairman

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Democrats are sharing details amongst themselves of past allegations of sexual assault against Representative Tony Cárdenas (D., Calif.) and his alleged connections to the “boogeyman of porn” since he took an interest in becoming the new head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, according to a new report.

While Cárdenas had garnered a great deal of support after Election Day, an “intense whisper campaign” ensued about an allegation from a woman who says Cárdenas molested her when she was a teenager, according to Politico Playbook. For his part, the California Democrat denies the accusation. A lawsuit on the matter was dropped in 2019.

Cárdenas has also come under fire for his association with Mark Handel, a real-estate developer who “moonlighted” as a director of violent pornography, the Daily Beast reported last week. Handel, who has also been accused of physically abusing women and is under federal indictment for alleged financial misdeeds, has fundraised for Cárdenas and acted as a “liaison … to the larger Los Angeles real estate community,” per Playbook.

Democrats have been circulating a documentary trailer about the allegations amongst themselves, according to the report.

The woman who accused Cárdenas of sexual assault said in court filings that he found a place for her family to live rent-free and that Handel covered the cost, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2018.

“Nothing is new, and frankly, everything has been publicly resolved, refuted or dropped,” a spokesperson for Cárdenas told the newsletter. “Voters are focused on kitchen table issues, not unfounded claims and distorted information by amateur operatives desperate for committee contracts.”

Those in Cárdenas’s circle believe it was Representative Ami Bera (D., Calif,), who is also vying to become DCCC chair, who unearthed the allegations, according to the report. Bera’s office denied the claims and said it had “nothing to do with this.”

Bera’s own father spent time in prison for election fraud after he asked friends and family members to contribute to his son’s 2010 and 2012 campaigns and then illegally reimbursed them. The illegal donations totaled at least $260,000. Representative Bera was cleared of any wrongdoing.

With two unpopular candidates, Democrats chose to allow House minority leader-elect Hakeem Jeffries appoint someone to the role rather than holding a vote.

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