Governor: new info on Senate GOP’s sexual harassment investigation should be released

Governor Kim Reynolds today said the Republican leader in the Iowa Senate should release the review of sexual harassment allegations against his staff if there’s more information there than what was exposed during a summertime trial.

“I do believe that if there are additional facts that were not brought out through the trial process…I think that we need to be transparent and open and they should release those, that information,” Reynolds said during her weekly news conference.

In July, a jury awarded former Senate GOP Caucus Staff communications director Kirsten Anderson $2.2 million after hearing accounts how staff and senators behaved. Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix fired one man on staff this fall and announced yesterday the details of his completed internal investigation will remain secret. Dix said senate employees have an “expectation of privacy.”

The Freedom of Information Council’s executive director argues Iowa taxpayers are left paying the agreed-upon $1.75 million settlement with Anderson, without knowing the details. Governor Reynolds is expressing the same sentiments.

“If this is new information that was not brought out through the trial process, then I think that it should be made public,” Reynolds said. “I understand that we need to be cognizant of personal information, but I think there’s a way to do that where you can protect personal information.”

Reynolds is praising legislative leaders for hiring a new human resources professional who will handle workplace issues, including harassment complaints. Reynolds, who was a member of the state senator for two years, has said she was not aware of any bad behavior when she was there — but Reynolds said that doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening.

“In light of what we’re hearing whether it’s Hollywood or whether it’s the media or whether it’s business or whether it’s elected officials, I think what we’ve seen play out over the last month is just a big, big reminder that we all have a role to play in this,” Reynolds said, “and that we all need to be diligent in making sure that nobody uses their title or their power to manipulate, harass or any any way abuse.”

Reynolds also mentioned the new anti-harassment training that’s now mandatory for U.S. Senators. Reynolds said someone recently told her that sort of requirement is “ridiculous,” but Reynolds said employees in state government go through similar training that clearly articulate the rules and warns, if they’re not followed, there will be consequences.