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Senate Republicans Settle Sexual Harassment Suit; Litigation to End

Joyce Russell/IPR
Former Senate GOP Communications Director Kirsten Anderson

A settlement has been reached in a sexual harassment lawsuit against Republicans in the Iowa Senate.  

In graphic testimony before a Polk County jury earlier this year, former Senate GOP Communications Director Kirsten Anderson described what she called a “toxic” work environment, and claimed she was fired for complaining about explicit sexual comments.

The jury sided with the plaintiff, awarding Anderson $2.2 million.    

Defendants sought a new trial. 

Now the litigation will end. 

Under the settlement, Senate Republicans, their leader Bill Dix, and others do not admit wrongdoing, but the state will pay Anderson $1.045 million and an additional $705,000 to the Coppola Law Firm  which represented her, for a total of $1.75 million.

Pending approval by the State Appeals Board, the settlement will be paid from the state’s general fund.   

In a statement, Senate Democratic Leader Rob Hogg said Iowans are “disgusted” by the harassment.

“Their tax dollars are going to be used to pay $1.75 million because of the misconduct and mismanagement by Republican Senators,” Hogg said.

Majority Leader Dix declined comment.   

In August, Dix said Senate Republicans, on the advice of the Attorney General, will contract with the Iowa Department of Administrative Services for human resource services.

Up to now, DAS has provided such services for the executive branch, not the legislature.

In post-trial motions, Anderson’s attorneys had sought continued court oversight of Senate Republicans.  

A Republican Senate staffer who was the focus of much of the trial testimony recently resigned.