Political lobbyists denounce harassment by state senator

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Developing tonight, multiple elected leaders up in Santa Fe are facing allegations of sexual assault, including a state senator who has already had allegations made against him, and now a Santa Fe county commissioner who is running for reelection.

Back in February when the first woman, Marianna Anaya a lobbyist, published an open letter accusing Democratic Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto of sexually harassing her multiple times.

On Monday, a new open letter was published, this one signed by nine women who have all worked with Sen. Ivey-Soto over the last few years. They decided to add their stories after reading the Anaya’s letter.

“It was not a surprise at all,” Executive Director of Common Cause Heather Ferguson said.

“I was not shocked as well,” Policy Director for the Center for Civic Policy Lan Sena said.

Ferguson and Sena both signed this open letter accusing Ivey-Soto of sexual assault and harassment.

“One of the stories in that letter is actually mine, I am the executive director that was referred to as lips and hips repeatedly at several meetings,” Ferguson said.

Other accusations include physical assaults, saying Ivey-Soto allegedly "pushed a female lobbyist up against her car and forcefully attempted to kiss and touch her."

The state senator responded to the open letter saying, "the legislature has a process to address allegations of bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment. I am and I will participate in any such process," Ivey-Soto said over the phone Monday.

But these women say that process, is part of the problem.

“No, I don’t have any faith or confidence in the process itself,” Sena explained. “Having gone through the process and also seeing that people who perpetuate this toxic culture are the ones who have a say so whether you get an investigation or not. For me to have a signed admission, a confession with 11 other people in the room, including a fellow legislator, was not enough to have any accountability to that legislator.”

The women in the letter are asking that Ivey-Soto resign his position, or be removed from it. And they’re also asking for a new process in the Roundhouse for investigating claims.

“It’s a fox guarding the hen house type of situation, and I think that it is important that an independent body be authorized and given the statutory oversight to investigate these types of complaints,” Ferguson said.

Since this letter was published Monday morning, Ferguson said multiple other women have reached out to her saying they have similar stories and want their names added to the list and are willing to testify against Ivey-Soto.