PRESSING THE FLESH

Gay GOP Congressional Candidate Accused Of Masturbating In Front Of Male Staffer

carldemaioBeing a hands-on politician is generally a good thing. Not so in Carl DeMaio’s case. The openly gay Republican nominee for Congress in San Diego is being accused of distinctly un-Congressional behavior: masturbating in front of a male staffer.

The staffer, Todd Bosnich, claims that DeMaio repeatedly made unwelcome sexual advances toward him. It all began one evening after DeMaio drove Bosnich to his car following a staff get-together.

“We were making small talk on the way back. And when he pulled up to my car, he reached over into my lap and grabbed my crotch. And I flipped out. And I pushed his hand away,” Bosnich told CNN. “I just was shocked because I’d never had anyone do something like that to me, especially in a position of authority and trust. And, at the time, I just figured, well, maybe he was drunk and blew it off.”

But Bosnich, who is also gay, says that the behavior escalated, reaching a climax (so to speak) last April. DeMaio called Bosnich to his office. What Bosnich says he saw there was not the usual political glad-handing.

“I came over to his office, door was open. And he was masturbating,” Bosnich said. “I saw his hand, his penis in his hand and he had a smile on his face. And as soon as I came over he was looking at me.”

Bosnich says he talked to DeMaio’s campaign manager, Tommy Knepper, about the behavior. Bosnich says Knepper responded, “That’s just the way Carl is.”

Bosnich claims he eventually confronted DeMaio about his behavior. Soon afterwards, Bosnich was fired, but not before he says he was offered a new position and $50,000 if he would sign a confidentiality agreement.

DeMaio is offering an infuriated rebuttal. “This is an individual that was let go by our campaign manager for plagiarism,” DeMaio says, claiming that Bosnich subsequently broke into the campaign office and smashed computers.

“He’s clearly troubled,” DeMaio says of Bosnich. “He got caught for the damage that he did to the campaign and now he’s manufacturing in essence a cover story to explain away his actions.”

DeMaio says that Bosnich is currently under police investigation and offered to share documents with CNN to prove Bosnich was lying and had broken into the campaign office. But DeMaio only let CNN look at the documents without reporting on their content. CNN’s succinct (and damning) summary: “On its own, the material did not appear to refute Bosnich’s claims.”

In fact, CNN tried for over a week to get DeMaio’s campaign to respond to specific allegations. Instead, the network was led on a merry chase through fields of obfuscation and obstruction. Politico, which originally broke the story,

Unfortunately for DeMaio, this is not the first time that he’s been accused of pressing the flesh inappropriately. Last year, Ben Hueso, who serves with De Maio on the San Diego City Council, says he twice caught DeMaio playing with himself in a restroom stall.

Councilwoman Marti Emerald ran into Hueso right after he left the men’s room. “He said DeMaio was in there (masturbating),” Emerald said. “And I said do you want to grab a police officer and have him arrested? Because this is a violation of the (city) code. He said no, but he was pretty upset.”

DeMaio denied that allegation too, telling CNN that he took a polygraph test that proved his innocence. Still, he wouldn’t provide the polygraph results to the network.

DeMaio is in a tight race to unseat freshman Democrat Scott Peters–or at least it was tight until Bosnich’s story became public. DeMaio had been anointed a “new generation Republican” by the party establishment, which is desperate to shed its ultra-right image. He’s received checks from House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

In fact, Boehner is scheduled to hold a fundraiser for DeMaio today. He may want to consider bringing along some hand sanitizer.