Capitol Alert

California lawmaker who resigned after masturbation accusation puts $1 million into campaign account

Lobbyist details her sexual assault charge, names California lawmaker

Sacramento lobbyist Pamela Lopez said Monday, December 4, 2017, that Assemblyman Matt Dababneh cornered her in a hotel bathroom last year and masturbated in front of her. Dababneh has denied the allegation.
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Sacramento lobbyist Pamela Lopez said Monday, December 4, 2017, that Assemblyman Matt Dababneh cornered her in a hotel bathroom last year and masturbated in front of her. Dababneh has denied the allegation.

Is former California lawmaker Matt Dababneh plotting a political comeback?

He transferred more than a million dollars into a 2022 lieutenant governor committee account this spring, according to campaign finance reports filed Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Democrat announced his resignation from the Assembly last December, days after two women publicly accused him of sexual assault and harassment. Though he denied the allegations, Dababneh said at the time he was stepping down to focus on clearing his name.

Dababneh resigned with nearly $1.2 million in the bank for his 2018 re-election effort. Sacramento lobbyist Pamela Lopez, who said Dababneh pushed her into a hotel bathroom in Las Vegas and masturbated in front of her, suggested last December that he should donate the money to trauma and rape crisis centers to atone for his actions.

At the end of March, Dababneh put most of the money – about $1.06 million – into the lieutenant governor account.

Politicians often open campaign accounts for future elections, sometimes for offices for which they have no intention of running, so they can continue to raise and spend money after they have termed out or while they figure out their next move. Dababneh did not immediately return a call to discuss his plans.

Before transferring the remaining funds from his Assembly account, Dababneh reported spending more than $31,000 for lawyers; $11,828 for credit card payments; $8,430 for candidate travel; $785 for meetings at various restaurants; $1,000 for monetary gifts of appreciation for his former staff members; and a $10,000 donation to the Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, among other expenses.

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