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Congresswoman leaves Hispanic caucus, says chairman called her a whore

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0107/2572.html Sanchez Accuses Democrat of Calling Her a Whore, Resigns from Hispanic Group By: Josephine Hearn January
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2007
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      http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0107/2572.html

      Sanchez Accuses Democrat of Calling Her a 'Whore,'
      Resigns from Hispanic Group

      By: Josephine Hearn
      January 31, 2007 07:29 PM EST

      Rep. Loretta Sanchez has quit the Congressional
      Hispanic Caucus, accusing the chairman, Rep. Joe Baca,
      of telling people she's a "whore."

      Baca denied the charge.

      In an interview with The Politico Wednesday, Sanchez,
      a California Democrat as is Baca, also cited concerns
      about whether Baca was properly elected Hispanic
      Caucus chairman in November and about his general
      attitude toward female lawmakers. The caucus
      represents 21 Hispanic Democrats in Congress.

      "I'm not going to be a part of the CHC as long as Mr.
      Baca illegally holds the chair … I told them no.
      There's a big rift here," Sanchez said. "You treat the
      women like shit. I have no use for him."

      In a statement to The Politico, Baca said Sanchez "has
      decided to resign from the Congressional Hispanic
      Caucus (CHC), and has chosen to air baseless
      statements. Let me be clear; her comments are
      categorically untrue."

      The last time lawmakers withdrew from the Hispanic
      caucus was in the late 1990s when the group's
      Republican members left over partisan differences.

      Sanchez said she had been approached earlier this year
      to contribute funds from her office budget to support
      the CHC's shared staff, a requirement for all its
      members. She refused.

      "I told them to take me off the list, take me off the
      Web site, take me off everything," Sanchez said.

      She said she was surprised and insulted when she
      learned that Baca had made the disparaging personal
      comment about her to California Assembly Speaker
      Fabian Nunez and other legislators last year.

      Nunez "is a friend of mine. Did he think he wouldn't
      tell me?" Sanchez asked.

      Sanchez voted against Baca in the election for
      chairman in November. Four other female lawmakers
      abstained from the vote, raising concerns about
      whether the election followed proper procedures.

      The Sanchez withdrawal is a blow to Baca and his
      allies who have been trying to bring the caucus back
      together after a series of internal spats last year.
      Many of the more junior members and the women have
      butted heads with him and senior lawmakers.

      Last February, six members withdrew from the group's
      political action committee after Baca and his allies
      authorized political contributions to family members
      who were running for state and local offices.

      Sanchez was among that group of defectors, which also
      included her sister, Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., and
      Democratic Reps. Dennis Cardoza of California, Jim
      Costa of California, Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona and
      Hilda L. Solis of California.

      In recent weeks, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Calif., a CHC
      member who serves in House leadership as assistant to
      the speaker, had been trying to persuade the six
      members to rejoin the political action committee,
      which is known as the Committee for Hispanic
      Causes/Building Our Leadership Diversity. So far, it
      appears those efforts have not succeeded. An
      invitation for a PAC fundraiser to be held Wednesday
      night continues to omit the six.

      Earlier this month, four female lawmakers wrote Baca
      asking that the caucus repeat his election as chairman
      because the earlier vote failed to use secret ballots,
      as required in the group's bylaws.

      Sanchez and other female CHC members have repeatedly
      complained that Baca and some of his male colleagues
      do not accord them a high level of respect.

      "There is a big rift. Hello? Do they not get this?"
      Sanchez said.
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