Formal Complaint Filed Against Assemblyman Marc Steinorth Over Affair Allegations
On October 6, I submitted a letter to Speaker Anthony Rendon's office requesting a formal investigation into various allegations surrounding the conduct of Assemblyman Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga), including an alleged affair with Heather Rouhana, his chief of staff.
We received a confirmation of receipt on October 10th from Carrie Cornwell, Chief of Staff for Speaker Rendon.
Assemblyman Marc Steinorth betrayed the people of California when he violated his promise and voted for the "cap and trade" bill that will raise the price of gas by 71 cents per gallon. Votes have consequences and we intend to make him pay.
Grab some popcorn and follow along with us over at "The Marc Steinorth Files." I guarantee you are going to enjoy the happy ending.
The actual letter sent as a PDF via email to Ms. Cornwell was also sent to the following individuals:
- Juan Torres, Deputy Chief of Staff for Speaker Anthony Rendon
- Mark Farouk, Chief of Staff for Assemblywoman Eloise Reyes
- Christopher Finarelli, Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham
- Daniel Kessler, Chief Counsel for Assembly Ethics Committee
The full text has been pasted below:
Dear Speaker Rendon:
American Children First has been conducting an independent investigation into the conduct of Assemblyman Marc Steinorth. The facts that we have uncovered along with allegations of physical assault and an affair with a staffer asserted in public documents by his wife, Maria Steinorth, are extremely disturbing.
In light of these findings, which we will detail a bit more thoroughly below, we are requesting that you refer this matter to the Assembly Ethics Committee and recommend an exhaustive and transparent investigation.
Here is the information that we have uncovered:
1. Maria called 9-1-1 to report a domestic disturbance at the family residence on April 15, 2017
2. Mrs. Steinorth states that her husband physically assaulted her in public court documents during this April 15 incident. “He took my cell phone. I was dragged from the driveway,” the document reads.
3. In this same document, Mrs. Steinorth states that she witnessed her husband engaging in “amorous hugging and kissing” with another woman on her cell phone which was synchronized with their business’ video security system. She states that she went to the business to obtain the video and that there was an “argument and physical confrontation.”
4. We are in possession of screenshots of a text conversation between Mrs. Steinorth and another unidentified individual in which she claims that the woman she witnessed on the video was Heather Rouhana, his chief of staff.
5. In another public document filed with the San Bernardino County Superior Court, Mrs. Steinorth subsequently names her husband’s chief of staff. The document states: “I believed my husband of twenty (20) years might be having an affair with Heather Rouhana, his chief of staff.”
6. Mrs. Steinorth claims that her husband has suffered from mental health issues and sought treatment about ten years ago. She maintains that a psychologist “prescribed medication to control depression and suicidal thoughts.” It is unclear if he is still taking any prescribed medication or under the supervision of a mental health professional.
Physical Assault Allegations
Mrs. Steinorth alleges two separate incidents of physical assault occurring on the same day, April 15, 2017. She states that an “argument and physical confrontation” took place at the couple’s business. She further asserts that her husband took her phone, physically grabbed her, and dragged her into the house.
Any and all allegations of physical assault involving an elected official or government employees should be taken incredibly seriously, especially in light of the revelations surrounding former Assemblyman Roger Hernandez. If you recall, his wife also alleged in court documents that Hernandez physically attacked her.
We often hear a lot of talk about the “war on women” or the unequal treatment women receive compared to men. It is incumbent upon your office to ensure that a thorough investigation into this alleged conduct is completed, especially in light of potential mental health concerns that may either be dormant or have the potential to reappear due to stressors like a tense and fractious divorce proceeding.
Affair Allegations Involving Staffer
The integrity of our democratic processes is threatened whenever an elected or high-ranking public official may have put themselves in a compromising position. An official can be blackmailed, pressured, or intimidated to act in a manner that is contrary to the best interests of the people in an effort to stave off any number of negative or embarrassing outcomes.
Allegations of an affair between Assemblyman Marc Steinorth and his chief of staff, Heather Rouhana, are serious accusations levied by Mrs. Steinorth. If true, then it must be acknowledged that such a relationship is by definition unethical behavior. Moreover, it presents the potential for many different concerning scenarios that expose the taxpayers to increased liability and risk exposure.
This could include, but not be limited to, claims of sexual harassment, allegations of discrimination or accusations of preferential treatment levied by other staff. For example, if said allegations are true, was she subsequently promoted to chief of staff after the affair began.
Additionally, the alleged affair would have to be conducted under clandestine circumstances to evade detection by spouses, partners, or even political operatives doing opposition research for an upcoming election cycle. Evasive tactics deployed in these circumstances can be costly and laborious.
As such, taxpayers have a right to know if any state resources were expended by either party for the express purpose of carrying on or concealing this alleged affair. Of most notable concern would be excessive or unnecessary air travel and lodging, and usage of state vehicles by either individual. Perhaps, he used his tax free per diem to fund any possible trysts while also utilizing the protective services of the California Highway Patrol.
It would seem logical to conclude that if a man were to violate the promises he made to his spouse by engaging in an extramarital affair that such an individual would also be more likely to break rules and policies set forth by the state legislature.
Recommendations for the Committee
American Children First would urge the committee to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into both the physical assault and affair allegations. We request the following from the committee:
1. An examination and public release of the police report for the April incident.
2. The review and release of the 9-1-1 call made by Mrs. Steinorth.
3. Interview all parties involved, including Steinorth’s Sacramento and district office staff.
4. Interview Senator Mike Morrell’s district office staff since their offices are adjacent to each other in the same building and some members of Steinorth’s staff may have confided in them.
5. Request that Heather Rouhana turn over any cell phone records, including the content of text messages and call log history, for any personal or government issued phone that she may have used for the last twelve months.
6. Request that Assemblyman Steinorth turn over any cell phone records, including the content of text messages and call log history, for any personal or government issued phone that she may have used for the last twelve months.
7. Investigate the email history from either the government issued or privately used email accounts of both Assemblyman Steinorth and Heather Rouhana.
8. Request Mrs. Steinorth turn over all text messages she has received from her husband.
9. Investigate the calendars and schedules of Steinorth and Rouhana and crosscheck these against call log records and texting history for each individual to identify any patterns or inconsistencies with other statements or records.
10. Ask Marc and Maria Steinorth about the video monitoring system at their business, if any video evidence was destroyed or erased, if any equipment was destroyed or replaced, and if so when and for copies of any receipts.
11. Ascertain the veracity of Maria Steinorth’s claims about the mental health history of Assemblyman Steinorth and determine whether or not he is still under the medical treatment of a mental health professional.
You and your colleagues have aggressively sought to insulate and protect yourself from scrutiny under the provisions of the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA) by restricting public records that would normally be subject to disclosure by other city and county elected officials as well as state and local government employees. It is shameful the degree with which the California state legislature goes to hide information from the public.
Consequently, the ability of a private citizen to investigate this story further in an effort to hold our government and elected officials accountable is stymied. It is my understanding that under LORA none of the call logs, text histories, or emails exchanged between Steinorth and his staff are subject to disclosure. The same goes for the calendars of Steinorth and staff, travel information and reimbursement by taxpayers, signing out of state vehicles from the fleet, etc.
If we are mistaken on any of this, we would kindly appreciate it if one of your staffers would walk us through the process of requesting various pieces of information we have requested above so that we may continue our own independent investigation.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. If you have any questions or would like copies of the court documents mentioned in the footnotes, please do not hesitate to contact us at: (424) 269-4564 or via email at: email@example.com.
Founder & Executive Director
American Children First
 Joseph Turner, Police Respond to Domestic Disturbance 9-1-1 Call By Wife of GOP Legislator (Sept. 26, 2017) http://americanchildrenfirst.org/police-respond-domestic-disturbance-911-call-wife-gop-legislator/
 Declaration of Respondent Maria Steinorth, San Bdno. County Superior Court (July 13, 2017), Pg. 5, Lines 12-13
 Declaration of Respondent Maria Steinorth, San Bdno. County Superior Court (July 13, 2017), Pg. 4, Lines 22-23, 27, and Pg. 5, Line 28
 Respondent’s Responsive Declaration to Petitioner’s Reply Declaration, San Bdno. County Superior Court (Sept. 22, 2017, Pg. 2, Lines 17-18
 Declaration of Respondent Maria Steinorth, San Bdno. County Superior Court (July 13, 2017), Pg. 4, Lines 4-9
While we are not optimistic that any real investigation will take place or that the media will cover any of this, we will update you if we hear anything.