A GOP lawmaker from Wisconsin, Senate Majority Leader Bill Kramer, will be asked to step down, after claims of verbal and physical sexual harassment. Kramer may resign his post as early as March 1, 2014.
Kramer is accused of groping a woman and of making lewd comments to others.
According to the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal (MSJ), Kramer is accused of sexually harassing at least two women after a DC fundraiser, on February 26th, 2014. The fundraiser was held at the BRG lobbying firm.
MSJ reports that Kramer, age 49, is accused of groping a 33 year old lobbyist, on the same day as the BRG event. At least two women also say that Kramer made lewd comments to them. One of the events is reported to have taken place on the flight back to WI, on the day after the DC event.
It’s not the first time Kramer has been accused of this kind of behavior.
Kramer was elected as majority leader in September, 2013. At least one GOP rep. had concerns as to whether or not Kramer was ‘fit’ for the job. At that time, WI State Rep. Chris Kapenga claimed that Kramer had acted inappropriately at meetings of the American Legislative Exchange Council. (ALEC).
Kapenga said that he saw a pattern of poor conduct, which showed that Kramer was not fit to be majority leader.
“That cannot happen ever,” Kapenga said, in September of 2013. “We can’t have sexual innuendos. We can’t have bad language in the public.”
In response to the claims, Kramer stated:
“I have heard that something happened at ALEC, and everybody I’ve talked to said they heard something inappropriate happened at ALEC. I haven’t run into anybody that saw something inappropriate happen at ALEC. Apparently, I had a pretty good time. What that means, I have no idea because the night in question, I was home early.”
None of this seemed to matter to the WI GOP. They voted to elect Kramer, in spite of the his history of poor conduct, and in spite of the warnings from a member of their own party.
GOP assembly leaders are expected to call on Kramer to resign.
On Friday, WI Assembly Speaker Robin Vos put out a statement in regards to the most recent charges against Kramer.
“Recently I was made aware of serious allegations regarding inappropriate behavior by Rep. Kramer. Since I learned of those allegations I have been consulting with legal counsel and other legislators to understand what options are available.”
Vos went on to say that “The alleged behavior is reprehensible and won’t be tolerated.”
WI republicans met late in the day on February 28, to discuss what actions to take against Kramer. According to MSJ it seems that all GOP assembly leaders were in favor of asking Kramer to step down.
On March 1, Vos stated that he planned to meet with Kramer later in the day, in order to discuss his future in politics.