Recommendations Released Following Iowa Senate GOP Sexual Harassment Settlement

Jan 12, 2018

Iowa Senate Republicans on Friday released recommendations made to them to ensure a safe workplace at the Iowa Capitol. The report was commissioned after taxpayers covered a $1.75 million sexual harassment settlement against Senate Republicans in October 2017.

In her report, former Republican state senator Mary Kramer writes, "there is nothing that has changed to prevent additional inappropriate behavior and ensuing problems."

She recommends all groups working at the capitol—including caucus staff, elected officials, media and lobbyists—receive training regarding expectations for appropriate behavior.

Kramer writes the legislative branch needs a formal, confidential complaint process that guarantees a fair investigation.

For complaints lodged against senators, Kramer recommends the Ethics Committee clarify a specific process for investigating harassment allegations.

Republican Senate President Jack Whitver says in an emailed statement, "We appreciate [Kramer's] work on this endeavor and will continue to work with the new human resources director to implement Ambassador Kramer's suggestions." 

Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen says in a statement, "We agree with Ambassador Kramer's conclusion that little has changed in the Iowa Senate more than four years after Kirsten Anderson was fired shortly after filling a complaint about the toxic work environment in the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus." 

Petersen is urging Whitver and Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix to quickly implement Kramer's recommendations and "adopt a more bipartisan, transparent and open process to solving this serious problem." 

Gov. Kim Reynolds discussed the issue Tuesday during her first Condition of the State address, saying, "All of us in public office must ensure not only a safe workplace, but serve as a model for the public and private sector."