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February 01, 2018 09:35 AM UTC

REPORT: Baumgardner Harassment Complaint Confirmed

  • 8 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
Republican Senator Randy Baumgardner

Time’s up.

At least one allegation of sexual harassment against Republican state Sen. Randy Baumgardner appears to have been validated through an outside investigation, putting a new spotlight on Senate Republican leadership to respond. As Bente Birkeland reports for KUNC:

The woman who filed a sexual harassment complaint against Sen. Randy Baumgardner at Colorado’s Capitol said her allegations are considered credible by those tasked with investigating them. An outside company, the Employers Council, investigated the allegations on behalf of legislative leaders.

The woman said she learned of the results of the investigation from a Senate staffer on Tuesday (Jan. 30, 2018). The woman said the staffer told her “the evidence suggests there should be a consequence.”

The woman, a former legislative aide, has asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. The formal complaint process allows for confidentiality.

She told us in November that Baumgardner, a Hot Sulphur Springs Republican, slapped and grabbed her buttocks four separate times during the 2016 legislative session. She alleged that the incidents took place at the Capitol while she worked.

Baumgardner declined to comment for Birkeland’s story, as did Senate President Kevin Grantham and Majority Leader Chris Holbert, which has been the general Republican response to accusations of sexual harassment that began to surface in late 2017. Birkeland reported in November on multiple claims of harassment involving Baumgardner and state Sen. Jack Tate, allegations that were met with shrugs of silence from Republican leaders and a proactive media outreach from lobbyists coming to Tate’s defense.

Senate President Kevin Grantham

When Birkeland first broke the news of harassment complaints against Democratic state Rep. Steve Lebsock, Republicans reacted with swift condemnation. “We have a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment,” said Grantham in mid-November…just a few days before reports surfaced of allegations against Baumgardner and Tate. Faced with questions about the actions of two of his caucus colleagues, Grantham’s tough-talk about sexual harassment quickly morphed into this statement:

“Senate Republican leaders cannot and will not be responding to unsubstantiated or anonymous allegations against members appearing in the press.”

When sexual harassment charges against Lebsock first surfaced, Democratic House Speaker Crisanta Duran quickly called on Lebsock to resign his seat and later removed the Thornton Democrat from leadership positions on several House committees. The comparison to the Republican response is impossible ignore. Both Baumgardner and Tate retain their chairmanships of key Senate committees. As the Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, Baumgardner is even the chief sponsor of Senate Bill 1, a transportation infrastructure funding bill that is the top GOP priority of 2018. That’s right — Baumgardner is leading Republican efforts on their number one legislative issue.

For the last couple of months, Republican leaders in Colorado have largely gotten away with going silent in response to allegations of sexual harassment. Reporters and media outlets covering the state legislature have given Grantham and friends a wide berth to avoid commenting on the issue while “investigations” took place. That time is now over.

If Grantham can’t straighten his spine enough to even temporarily take action against Baumgardner and Tate, he is sending a message that Republicans are complicit in these sexual harassment allegations. Doing nothing is a decision in itself.

Comments

8 thoughts on “REPORT: Baumgardner Harassment Complaint Confirmed

  1. Wonder if the report from "An outside company, the Employers Council, [which] investigated the allegations on behalf of legislative leaders" will be available sometime soon?

  2. To the Employer's Council…..

    Outsourcing due process since 2018.

    Question: Does the Employer’s Council engage in any lobbying activities?

    1. Is this the same process that led to GOP'ers to say "LOCK HER UP!!!" about Hillary Clinton?  Ready to answer my question? How does "LOCK HER UP!!!!" square with due process?

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