first_imgWASHINGTON – Three female members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus accused the organization’s male leaders Thursday of treating women unfairly. Rep. Loretta Sanchez said the caucus chairman called her a “whore.” Rep. Joe Baca denied uttering the insult, which Sanchez cited among grievances that led her to announce this week she was quitting the group. “Let me be clear: Her comments are categorically untrue,” said Baca, who like Sanchez is a California Democrat. “He said it. For him to deny it is just a silly thing,” Sanchez said in an interview. She and Rep. Hilda Solis, D-El Monte., said Baca made the comment at an event in Sacramento, over the summer and that it was repeated to them by people they declined to identify. “Name-calling never helps anything,” said Sanchez, adding she confronted Baca about the comment. “He just shook for awhile and then he said, `That’s a lie.”‘ The controversy, which became public with a report Wednesday on the Web site about the “whore” comment, was the latest evidence of conflict between men in the growing caucus and a smaller, mostly female contingent. Baca was supported by only one of six women in the 21-member caucus Advertisement when he was elected chairman in November. Solis, Loretta Sanchez and her sister, Linda, and Rep. Nydia Velazquez of New York subsequently disputed the election procedure and asked for a new secret-ballot vote. All caucus members are Democrats. Other concerns include Baca’s decision to use money from the caucus’ political action committee to fund his sons’ unsuccessful campaigns for state office in California last year. That led Solis, the Sanchez sisters and three other lawmakers to sever ties with the fundraising groups. There also is a perception among female caucus members that their concerns are given short shrift in a caucus that – like the Congress as a whole – remains overwhelmingly male, despite high profile advances by women in Congress. “I think there tends to be the sentiment that there has to be more work done to improve relationships in the caucus and the treatment of women in the caucus,” Solis said in an interview. “I am waiting to see if the Hispanic Caucus leadership will make good on its promise to be more fair and inclusive of its Latina members,” said Linda Sanchez, whose Cerritos district is near her older sister’s in Garden Grove.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img