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Report: California secretary of state made jokes about gays

Report: California secretary of state made jokes about gays

The office of California's top elections official used the "spoils system" in a number of hirings, including rigging the application process to ensure a job for the son of a financial backer, according to a new state report. The report also suggested that Secretary of State Kevin Shelley created a hostile working environment with frequent outbursts and excessive demands on staff and couldn't produce copies of a sexual harassment complaint filed by an ex-staffer against him. The complaint, one of four filed by ex-staffers against Shelley, alleged that he made sexual hand gestures during conference calls, asked the staffer if she was "into men or women," made jokes about gays, and asked if it was true that bodybuilders had small genitals. In response, Shelley's office promised to tighten its procedures for hiring and for investigating complaints by staffers. But a spokeswoman denied that Shelley has created a hostile environment and "categorically" denied any sexually inappropriate conduct. The report by the state personnel board represents more bad news for Shelley, who's already under fire from a state audit charging him with mishandling millions of dollars in federal election funds. Mounting criticism triggered now by two state investigations and a federal probe into the questionable campaign contributions have produced increasing calls for the Democrat's resignation. Shelley is scheduled to testify February 3 before a legislative committee investigating his use of the elections funds. (AP)

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