Laura Fink, who was Bob Filner's deputy campaign manager during his 2006 congressional reelection campaign, has accused the Democrat of patting her “posterior” – the latest allegation of sexual misconduct against the San Diego mayor.
While Fink was a staffer at the time, she's since co-founded a San Diego-based political consulting firm called Fink & Hernandez Consulting LLC.
Her story could make Filner even more radioactive to outside consultants.
During a fundraiser -- the first event Fink organized during her two-year stint -- Filner "patted her posterior" during a table rotation after a supporter said Fink had worked her "tush off" getting the formal dinner together.
Fink told KPBS that Filner told her to turn around.
"As a staffer, you know, I know it sounds silly to just do it, but you just do it, and so I turned around and he proceeded to take his hand and pat me on my posterior and laugh and say, 'no, it's still there.'"
It's the latest in a series of damning allegations against the former congressman turned mayor. Earlier this week, Irene McCormack Jackson, his former communications director, went public with a sexual harassment lawsuit.
But with Filner refusing to resign, this cascade of allegations might not change the trajectory of his political career. If he stays – and supporters think he will try to hang on -- the only way a consultant boycott would matter to Filner is if he's forced into a recall election.
There's a high bar set for that happen.
A mayoral recall petition requires the signatures of at least 15 percent of the registered voters in the city. Moreover, "recall certainly will affect the day-to-day operations of City Hall," writes Democratic consultant Chris Crotty, who has known Filner since 1987. "Some politicians who stand to benefit may be willing to put the city in that situation, as well as those who have been most vocal about the mayor stepping down. However, for those of us with no direct stake in this distasteful situation, a recall may be the most onerous option."
In the meantime, a source said Filner's core advisory team, including Republican consultant Tom Shepard, remains loyal. But Bill Wachob, Filner’s former media consultant, tells C&E in an email: "I have not talked to or advised Bob Filner since May of 2012."
--This post has been updated.