Wisconsin May Expel a State Lawmaker for the First Time in Almost 100 Years

Rep. Bill Kramer is accused of groping a political staffer at a fundraiser in Washington.

Wisconsin state Rep. Bill Kramer (R-Waukesha)
National Journal
Emma Roller
March 31, 2014, 11:50 a.m.

For the first time in al­most a cen­tury, the Wis­con­sin state Le­gis­lature may vote to ex­pel one of its mem­bers. Rep. Bill Kramer, who rep­res­ents a con­ser­vat­ive sub­urb in the south­east­ern part of the state, has been ac­cused of grop­ing and sexu­ally har­ass­ing two wo­men, nearly three years apart.

Kramer is ac­cused of sexu­ally har­ass­ing a fe­male lob­by­ist and a le­gis­lat­ive aide at a fun­draiser in Wash­ing­ton last month. He has been charged on two counts of second-de­gree sexu­al as­sault. If con­victed on both charges, Kramer could face up to 80 years in pris­on and $200,000 in fines.

Kramer, who has been in of­fice since 2006, has been a stal­wart in the Re­pub­lic­an-con­trolled Le­gis­lature since Gov. Scott Walk­er was elec­ted in 2010. Kramer has served as ma­jor­ity lead­er in the state As­sembly since Septem­ber. After the charges came to light, he was sum­mar­ily stripped of his title, but re­mains a mem­ber of the Le­gis­lature.

After the ac­cus­a­tions sur­faced, Kramer checked him­self in­to an un­spe­cified treat­ment pro­gram.

Kramer has already an­nounced he will not seek reelec­tion, but his at­tor­ney, James Gatzke, says his cli­ent has no in­ten­tion of leav­ing of­fice early. “He’s not go­ing to,” Gatzke told Na­tion­al Journ­al. “He’s de­cided to take ad­vant­age of the [crim­in­al justice] pro­cess just like any­one else is able to take ad­vant­age of the pro­cess.”

In or­der to ex­pel Kramer, two-thirds of the state As­sembly would have to vote to kick him out. The last time a Wis­con­sin state law­maker was ex­pelled was in 1917, when a so­cial­ist state sen­at­or re­fused to re­tract state­ments that were per­ceived as anti-Amer­ic­an. The state As­sembly lead­er­ship is now mulling its op­tions, and de­cid­ing wheth­er to take pun­it­ive ac­tion against Kramer be­fore he is con­victed.

Kramer is ac­cused of har­ass­ing a fe­male lob­by­ist and grop­ing a staffer at a fun­draiser in Feb­ru­ary. Spe­cific­ally, ac­cord­ing to the Mil­wau­kee Journ­al Sen­tinel:

Wit­nesses have al­leged that Kramer hugged a le­gis­lat­ive staffer and touched her breasts at a so­cial event after the D.C. fun­draiser. He also al­legedly made vul­gar re­marks about his sexu­al prowess to a lob­by­ist on that night of Feb. 26 and again the next day on a flight back to Wis­con­sin.

When a de­tect­ive asked Kramer to re­spond to al­leg­a­tions of touch­ing a wo­man’s breasts, he said the wo­man “has very nice, doc­tor-en­hanced breasts. I am not a big fan of those. I like the real ones.”

After these al­leg­a­tions came out, a sep­ar­ate fe­male polit­ic­al staffer re­por­ted an­oth­er in­cid­ent in­volving Kramer. She told po­lice that in 2011 or 2012, Kramer as­saul­ted her after a Re­pub­lic­an gath­er­ing at a loc­al bar.

In the po­lice re­port, she said Kramer was “really drunk.” They walked back to her car, and after deny­ing his sexu­al ad­vances, Kramer is said to have shoved her up against her car, for­cibly kissed her, and pushed his hands un­der her shirt to feel her breasts. Ac­cord­ing to the al­leged vic­tim, Kramer later made more un­wanted sexu­al ad­vances, grabbing her groin and ex­pli­citly telling her what he wanted to do with her.

The staffer de­scribed the in­cid­ent as a “night­mare,” but did not ini­tially re­port it for fear of pub­lic em­bar­rass­ment. She did, however, threaten to tell her story to the po­lice if Kramer ever sexu­ally har­assed her or someone else.

What We're Following See More »
BACKING OUT ON BERNIE
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”

TAKATA RECALLS COULD TAKE YEARS TO COMPLETE
Airbag Recalls Target 12 Million Automobiles
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identified on Friday the makes and models of 12 million cars and motorcycles that have been recalled because of defective air bag inflators made by Japanese supplier Takata. The action includes 4.3 million Chryslers; 4.5 million Hondas; 1.6 million Toyotas; 731,000 Mazdas; 402,000 Nissans; 383,000 Subarus; 38,000 Mitsubishis; and 2,800 Ferraris. ... Analysts have said it could take years for all of the air bags to be replaced. Some have questioned whether Takata can survive the latest blow."

Source:
AKNOWLEDGING THE INEVITABLE
UAW: Time to Unite Behind Hillary
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.

Source:
AP KEEPING COUNT
Trump Clinches Enough Delegates for the Nomination
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."

Source:
TRUMP FLOATED IDEA ON JIMMY KIMMEL’S SHOW
Trump/Sanders Debate Before California Primary?
1 days ago
THE LATEST
×