Eric Bauman Resigns California Democratic Party Chair Post


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Four smaller jobs — CDP Vice Chair, LA County Chair, Assembly Speaker’s Office, and consultant — leading to one much bigger job?

You see above an illustration I made of Eric Bauman when he was running for CDP Chair last May, pointing out that he was at the time serving in four jobs as he ran for Chair, three of which posed conflicts.  (He refused to give up his seat as Chair of the LA County Democratic Party for about half a year after he was elected Chair.)

This afternoon, Eric Bauman resigned from the position of Chair of the California Democratic Party after a Los Angeles Times story detailed what had previously been only vague accusations of his predatory and bullying behavior towards young male volunteers of the party.

I was going to say that this was tragic, but the tragedy came in the years before where he would use his size, force, and reputation for terrible retribution to abuse CDP delegates, staff, and volunteers.  Some were fondled without consent, some were groped as a show of menacing domination.  Verbal abuse was commonplace.  The tragedy of Bauman’s interactions were not in their culminating in his resignation, but in the pain that they caused and the perversion of the political process.

Bauman won the CDP Chair’s election over Kimberly Ellis, pictured with him in my composite graphic above, based partly on an anti-homophobia backlash after he asserted that a whisper campaign was being mounted against him claiming that he was being accused of preying on teenage boys.  No evidence emerged about such a campaign, other than perhaps a stupid remark or two not emanating from the Ellis campaign.  Nevertheless, while his supporters complained about Ellis playing the “woman card,” the “black card,” and the “woman of color card,” reaction to this charge propelled him to a narrow victory.

(Well, that’s not true — it only propelled him towards a victory. He only got over the line by cheating, managing to appoint alternates to delegate who didn’t show up and funneling them through a specific poll worker who would look the other way at any irregularities.  Yes, I was the main witness and agitator about this; but it didn’t make it any less true and of course the party refused to engage in any real investigation.)

Bauman’s power base was in Los Angeles County — which achieved historically low turnout in elections under his leadership.  Along with Ventura County,  Orange County was with one of Bauman’s next strongest power bases.  I won’t recount all of that here and now, especially as DPOC Chair Fran Sdao has already announced her departure.  Sometime later, I promise.

I will recount that as Vice Chair of the Party, Bauman was brought in by then-Chair Henry Vandermeir to chair the meeting in which I was removed from the position of party Vice Chair — in a proceeding where I was not even given the charges against me until a few minutes before the hearing was to begin, when they were dropped casually on the table where I was sitting while I had stepped away from it for a moment.  Bauman won over the room when, after I had accused him of bias in (among other things) not doing anything about that blatant violation of due process, he thundered from the podium that he had chaired a large number of proceedings and had never  been accused of bias.

This was a lie — neither his first nor his last in office — but it impressed the room (not used to such local displays from party leaders) and I lost that vote by a margin of one.

Bauman embraced the notion that his verbally abusive and physically intimidating ways “worked for him” — and, for what seemed like a long time (but in retrospect wasn’t all that long.)  He will go down in history as a striking example of the arrogance of power based in humiliation, bullying, and physical (including sexual domination) — putting him in a class with flawed but heroic figures such as Lyndon Baines Johnson and flawed but horrible figures such as Donald Trump.  He’ll fit in somewhere between them.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)