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February 13, 2018 03:38 PM UTC

BREAKING: Baumgardner Receives Voluntary Wrist-Slap

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: The Denver Post’s John Frank reporting that Democrats will proceed with a resolution to expel Sen. Randy Baumgardner from the Colorado Senate.

On the heels of Tuesday’s announcement, Senate Democrats pledged to ratchet up the political pressure, telling the Post they plan to introduce a resolution to expel the embattled Republican.

Under the Colorado Constitution, each chamber has the ability to remove one of its members from office for bad behavior by a two-thirds vote. But it has only happened once — the 1915 expulsion of Rep. William Howland in the wake of a bribery investigation.

Without Republican support, the effort’s certain to fail. Each chamber has “considerable discretion” in determining the procedure for doing so, according to an Office of Legislative Legal Services memo.


A few moments ago, Sen. Randy Baumgardner announced what Republican Senate leadership apparently considers to be closure of Baumgardner’s sexual harassment case. Rather than try to explain Senate President Kevin Grantham’s action–or inaction as the majority of our readers will see it–here’s the letter from Grantham to Baumgardner in its jaw-dropping entirety:

After grudgingly noting the conclusion of the Mountain States Employers Council that the allegation against Sen. Baumgardner is credible, Grantham proceeds to attack the investigation’s “inaccuracies, bias, conflicts of interest, and inconsistencies” before acknowledging Baumgardner’s “voluntarily” stepping down as chair of the Transportation Committee. Apparently Baumgardner is voluntarily taking some manner of “sensitivity training.” No specifics about the investigation that led to Grantham essentially disregarding it have been disclosed.

With this resolution we deem the matter closed.

Folks, this is the worst possible response by Colorado Senate leadership to an accusation of sexual harassment that has been found credible. The magnitude of this error cannot be overstated. Politically, it will wreak havoc on Republicans all over the state, and perhaps beyond to the extent the story makes it into national news. Which is likely: all over the country the issue of sexual harassment is disrupting business as usual in state legislatures, like in Arizona where just last week Rep. Don Shooter (R-Yuma) was expelled by a 56-3 vote in that state’s GOP-controlled House.

Sexual harassment by men in positions of power in the workplace is an issue that has exploded into the public consciousness since the election of Donald Trump. Although Trump outlasted the army of women who accused him of sexual misconduct and assault long enough to get elected President, the backlash against men who commit sexual harassment his election provoked has dragged a hidden culture of abuse and victimization at every level of society into the light once and for all. Powerful men have had their despicable behavior exposed to the world, and the revulsion the world responds with is in very many cases career-ending.

But not in the Republican Colorado Senate.


39 thoughts on “BREAKING: Baumgardner Receives Voluntary Wrist-Slap

    1. Process consisted of Grantham dictating the letter he signed.

      What is amazing is that there was a fact-finder – selected by Grantham & Co. – who found against the Mustache. The outrageous part is the penalty.

      Next up: Lesbock demanding equal protection and a similar punishment.

    1. Moderatus: terrible sorry to confound your opinion of the average poster here on Pols. I'm not a liberal and I have no friends in ISIS. I don't think the so-called punishment was sufficient. And I'll leave it at that.

    2. LOCK HER UP!!! LOCK HER UP!!!   That was your definition of due process with Hillary Clinton.  

      Many people think Baumgartner and Lebsock should resign as a matter of principle. Something modern-day Republicans don't understand.

  1. Sen. Grantham's and Sen. Holbert's letter is incredible. On the one hand, they admit the investigation, the one they commissioned, the one completed by a responsible and respected employment organization, found credible evidence that Sen. Baumgardner sexually harassed a woman.

    In turn, they trash their investigation as shoddy based on unstated conflicts of interest, inaccuracies, bias, and inconsistencies. If  that's true, why should Sen. Baumgardner step down from his committee chairmanship and take sensitivity training?

    Their letter is ridiculous. Assuming the investigation had those kinds of defects shouldn't they commission a second investigation to get to the bottom of this? 

    The message to women is clear – if you bring allegations of sexual harassment against a Republican state senator – the senate Republican leadership will twist itself into a pretzel to cover up and protect the accused, and amazingly – will allow the accused to set his own punishment and commend him for doing it voluntarily.

    Now, with a second allegation pending against Sen. Baumgardner what is the Republican leadership going to do? Hire another investigator and trash his/her report? I thought the Republicans were all for due process in these situations but it is now obvious when due process, the one they commissioned, comes to an adverse conclusion that requires adverse action against a member of their caucus, their high moral tone they always take becomes a profile in jello.

    Since Sen. Grantham and Sen. Holbert are going to protect the guilty and abandon common sense morality shouldn't they resign too?

  2. Stunningly awful. Something tells me the Baumgardner story is far from over. There is a new formal complaint, and knowing how Baumgardner has no impulse control and has a history of threatened violence . . . well, stay tuned.


  3.  It is simply beyond my comprehension that a company, newly hired by Colorado's legislature, would not do the best possible job in order to impress its new employer AND be very careful to avoid any political pitfalls, sticking strictly to the facts. But the GOP leadership accuses them of delivering a report full of "inaccuracies, bias, conflicts of interest and inconsistencies." How stupid do those two white men think we are? 

    1. The root cause of the “inaccuracies, bias, conflicts of interest and inconsistencies” Is easily explained — a woman was permitted to be involved with this investigation!  Right Moldy?

  4. Well, circle March 16 on your calendars, kiddies . . . 



    . . . that’s the day Grantham and Holbert have set to reveal to Colorado their new and improved Sensitive Sen. Stache!!

  5. Good grief.  They engaged an impartial investigation team to look into the charges and when the impartial investigation team issued a report they didn't agree with they cry foul.  I've worked with Employer's Council (formerly Mountain States Employer's Council) on several employment related issues over the past 20 years and they are nothing if not fair….they call balls and strikes and let the chips fall where they will.  In short, I'd trust an investigator from EC a hell of a lot quicker than I would virtually anyone in the state leg.  Furthermore, I feel great sympathy for the newly engaged Human Resources Director that has been brought on by the Legislature.  They have been set up for failure.

    1. It's a question of fundamental values. The prime motivator of the Legislature,probably any legislature, is political, partisan power. Which party holds the keys to the kingdom, the majority, the Speakership, the ability to move or to kill bills?

      Sensible governance, real problem solving, accountability, and a safe, harassment-free workplace are all secondary or tertiary values.

      Add to this that power is sexy, that people who make things happen in the world are hot. Add to this that people genuinely don't know when they are "over the line": When does a harmless dirty joke become sexual harassment? When does a supportive hug become a power play? When does a compliment become manipulation?

      These are questions that training,  education, and norm setting should address, but the basic problem of partisan competition in the workplace will limit the effectiveness of such training.

      Add to this that the modeling for disrespecting women, sexual exploitation, and lying about it comes from the man in the nation's highest elected office, the leader of the free world.

      Given that basic conflict of values, I don't think that a little "sensitivity training" will do much to make the Capitol a safer place to work. Hiring the Employer's Council was a good move. A better one would be to create a real, nonpartisan council of legislators with power to levy consequences for violating norms of behavior.


      1. A very sober analysis, Mama, up until the end. A council of legislators would end up sweating in the sexually charged heat of power politics you describe, and turn such cases into just one more round of power plays.

        In the end, the only people who can do something about these kinds of cases, is THE people on election day. We won't get that satisfaction in this case thanks due to term limits, but there will be others.

      2. First, righting these wrongs should not have to wait until election day, for any elected perpetrator. If a known outside group with a good track record cannot be respected by Republican leadership, then nothing will be respected – a "nonpartisan" council of legislators, a human resources office, or any other mechanism. I do believe that a Republican like Baumgardner, who thought he was so great he could run for the US Senate in 2012, who has been sexually harassing young women in the legislature for years, and who has shown absolutely zero acknowledgment of or remorse for his actions, will only be controlled by the courts. Any sexual assaults he committed should be discussed with the appropriate District Attorney for possible prosecution.


      3. But with Colorado 's system for filling vacancies with a replacement who must be of the political party of the departing senator, there is zero chance the GOP will lose its slim majority. They simply replace a tainted RWNJ with a presumably clean RWNJ. And the PR problem goes away. 

          1. She took one for team which preserved the Dems' majority but that is where the analogy begins and ends. She supported a controversial bill. She did not sexually  assault anyone.

        1. And therein lies the problem.  If there is an ethically challenged individual who is victimizing folks in the legislature, I don't give two shits which side of the aisle they are on….they need to go…and we can settle who replaces them after the fact.  This situation with Baumgardener should not be looked at as an opportunity to pick up a seat by Democrats…that is exactly the wrong lens to be looking at it though and is no better than what the Republicans are doing in attempting to save him.

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