Matt Dababneh

Matt Dababneh is an American politician who served in the California State Assembly. A Democrat, he represented the 45th Assembly District, which encompasses most of the western San Fernando Valley.

Matt Dababneh
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 45th district
In office
January 6, 2014 – January 1, 2018
Preceded byBob Blumenfield
Succeeded byJesse Gabriel
Personal details
Born (1981-02-20) February 20, 1981 (age 39)
Los Angeles, California
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceEncino, Los Angeles, California
Alma materUniversity of California, Los Angeles

Early life and educationEdit

Dababneh was raised in the Inland Empire and graduated from La Sierra Academy in 1999. Dababneh went on to graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a degree in Political Science and History. He was on the staff of the John Kerry for President campaign in 2004.[1][2]

Sexual misconduct and resignationEdit

On December 4, 2017, Pamela Lopez, a Sacramento lobbyist, alleged that Dababneh sexually assaulted her. According to Lopez, in 2016 Dababneh pushed her into a Las Vegas hotel bathroom, masturbated in front of her and urged her to touch him. "I felt the weight of a body push me into the restroom."[3] Dababneh has strongly denied the allegation,[4] and his attorney Patricia L. Glaser, who also represents embattled film producer Harvey Weinstein, threatened to sue Lopez for defamation. "I affirmatively deny that this event ever happened," said Dababneh. "I am saddened by this lobbyist's effort... for her own self-promotion."[5]

Jessica Y. Barker, who was Dababneh's subordinate when they both worked in US Congressman Brad Sherman's District Office, also came forward and accused Dababneh of sexual harassment. According to Barker, Dababneh regularly spoke about his sexual exploits and made degrading comments about women. She said his behavior was the main factor in her decision to leave her job as a field representative for the congressman after 18 months. She said over the course of her tenure there that Dababneh frequently made inappropriate comments at work, including talking about his sexual habits and the attire of female staffers. Two friends confirmed to The Los Angeles Times that Barker regularly told them about Dababneh's behavior and that she said it made her feel uncomfortable.[4] According to Barker, "Pamela and I aren't the only women that Matt has harassed. There are others and I have spoken to them."[6]

On December 5, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced that the Assembly Rules Committee would hire an outside law firm to investigate the incident described by Pamela Lopez, and Dababneh would temporarily step down as chair of the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee.[7]

On December 8, Dababneh announced that he would resign at the end of the month.[8] He said he didn't feel pressure to resign because of the allegations, for which he maintains his innocence, but he said he simply no longer felt passionate about lawmaking and was ready for a change.[9]

After hearing of Dababneh's resignation, Lopez said this was only the beginning if he wanted to truly atone for his actions. She called on him to donate his 2018 campaign money (reported to be over a million dollars) to a rape crisis or trauma center. Lopez also announced that day she'd heard from several other women with allegations against Dababneh that ranged from sexual harassment to assault.[9]

According to the Los Angeles Times, "Preliminary findings by an independent investigator hired by the Assembly Rules Committee substantiated Lopez’s allegation in June {2018}. The conclusion was based on interviews with Lopez and more than 50 witnesses. Dababneh also participated in the investigation."


Prior to being elected to the state assembly, for eight years he was the district chief of staff and senior aide to United States Congressman Brad Sherman of the 30th U.S. Congressional district.[1][2]

2014 California State AssemblyEdit

Dababneh took office in January 2014, after winning the November 2013 election to complete the remaining 2014 term vacated by the 2013 resignation of Bob Blumenfield to represent Los Angeles City Council District 3. Dababneh won the seat in closely contested run-off election after finishing 329 votes ahead of his opponent.[10] He won a full term in 2014, and secured a spot in the general election of 2016 finishing as the top vote getter in June primary with 49.24% of the vote.[11] This came after Dababneh received more than $350,000 in outside money in support of his re-election bid.[12] Prior to the June 2016 primary he faced criticism from local Democratic activists for positions he had taken while in office.[13]

In March 2017, Dababneh coauthored the controversial California Senate Bill 649 [14] which would remove a city's ability to control where the technology is placed and transfer that power to the state [15] and is considered "an unconstitutional bill that forcibly exposes neighborhoods to constant, hazardous 4G/5G microwave radiation."[16]

Electoral historyEdit

California's 45th State Assembly district special election, 2013
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Matt Dababneh 6,088 24.7
Republican Susan Shelley 5,205 21.1
Democratic Jeff Ebenstein 3,407 13.8
Republican Chris Kolski 3,141 12.7
Democratic Andra Hoffman 2,477 10.0
Democratic Damian Carroll 1,680 6.8
Democratic Elizabeth Badger 679 2.8
Democratic Dennis De Young 673 2.7
Republican Armineh Chelebian 624 2.5
No party preference Eric Lewis 432 1.8
Democratic Dan McCrory 262 1.1
Total votes 24,668 100.0
General election
Democratic Matt Dababneh 14,984 50.6
Republican Susan Shelley 14,655 49.4
Total votes 29,639 100.0
Democratic hold
California's 45th State Assembly district election, 2014
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Matt Dababneh (incumbent) 23,208 54.7
Republican Susan Shelley 19,227 45.3
Total votes 42,435 100.0
General election
Democratic Matt Dababneh (incumbent) 45,321 57.1
Republican Susan Shelley 34,055 42.9
Total votes 79,376 100.0
Democratic hold

2016 California State AssemblyEdit

California's 45th State Assembly district election, 2016
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Matt Dababneh (incumbent) 42,135 49.3
Republican Jerry Kowal 22,899 26.8
Democratic Doug Kriegel 20,387 23.9
Total votes 85,421 100.0
General election
Democratic Matt Dababneh (incumbent) 111,148 66.4
Republican Jerry Kowal 56,257 33.6
Total votes 167,405 100.0
Democratic hold


  1. ^ a b Matt Dababneh — Biography . accessed 2.14.2014.
  2. ^ a b "Experience—About Matt Dababneh" . accessed 2.14.2014.
  3. ^ Modesti, Kevin (December 4, 2017). "Valley Assemblyman Matt Dababneh accused of sexually assaulting Sacramento lobbyist".
  4. ^ a b Mason, Melanie (December 4, 2017). "California assemblyman accused of forcing lobbyist into bathroom and masturbating". Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ "Two Women Accuse Democratic Assemblyman Matt Dababneh of Sexual Harassment". December 4, 2017.
  6. ^ "Lobbyist accuses LA assemblyman of sexual assault". December 4, 2017.
  7. ^ Rendon, Anthony (4 December 2017). "The Assembly Rules Committee will hire an outside law firm to investigate the incident described by Pamela Lopez. Assemblymember Dababneh is temporarily stepping down as chair of the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee while the investigation proceeds". @Rendon63rd. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  8. ^ Mason, Melanie. "Assemblyman Matt Dababneh to resign following sexual misconduct allegations". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  9. ^ a b Koseff, Alexei (2017-12-08). "Matt Dababneh will resign from California Assembly after sex assault allegation". The Sacramento Bee. ISSN 0890-5738. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  10. ^ "Susan Shelley concedes race to Matt Dababneh in Assembly District 45 race". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  11. ^ "Matt Dababneh - Ballotpedia". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  12. ^ "Outside money pours into San Fernando Valley's Assembly District 45 race". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  13. ^ "Democratic Assemblyman Matt Dababneh faces criticism from his party as election nears". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  14. ^ "SB-649 Wireless telecommunications facilities". Retrieved 2017-03-23.
  15. ^ "Cities take stand against California bill for 5G antenna placement". Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  16. ^ "California Senate Passed SB.649 — An Unconstitutional Bill That Forcibly Exposes Neighborhoods to Constant, Hazardous 4G/5G Microwave Radiation". Retrieved 2017-06-02.