Chris Holbert and the Baumgardner Cover-Up

Senate President Kevin Grantham (left) and Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert.

Senate President Kevin Grantham and Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert have steadfastly refused to discipline Sen. Randy “Boob Grabber” Baumgardner over multiple claims of sexual harassment that occurred over a period of several years. Grantham and Holbert’s inexplicable protection of Baumgardner is certainly not a new story, but this now-familiar tale may be turning the corner into a full blown cover-up.

If you take a second look at some of the most recent reporting from KUNC reporter Bente Birkeland (whose work on sexual harassment at the State Capitol was recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists), you can start to piece together what would appear to be a calculated effort to withhold information that could have led to Baumgarner’s expulsion from the Senate. Here’s the key paragraphs from a story Birkeland published on Monday about details of a second investigation into harassment allegations by the company Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADR):

The report is dated March 30, 2018, Good Friday, a day off for legislators and staff. The following Monday, April 2, the ADR investigator, Kathryn Miller confirmed to our sources that she had submitted her findings to Senate Secretary Effie Ameen. That was the same day Republican Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert, who controls the chamber’s calendar, scheduled  an unexpected vote on a Democratic resolution to expel Baumgardner after weeks of pressure from Democrats to do so. [Pols emphasis]

Yet the additional details were not considered in the expulsion vote, only the findings of a single investigation that concluded  Baumgardner more likely than not grabbed and slapped a former legislative aide’s buttocks. While Ameen had the new findings, the investigations were still considered to be open until April 11 because the investigator stated Baumgardner was refusing to be interviewed. She said his actions held up the release of the report by about a month.

Birkeland’s story on Monday did not include a response from Sen. Holbert about why a resolution to expel Baumgardner was introduced before results were made public about the second (ADP) investigation, but here’s how she followed up via Twitter:

Sen. Chris Holbert (R) on a DIY “border patrol” in Arizona.

Holbert’s excuse for the timing of the Baumgardner resolution is that “he doesn’t control the calendar.” The problem with this answer is that one of Holbert’s jobs as Senate Majority Leader is to schedule resolutions in the State Senate. Holbert would have a hard time arguing this point since Birkeland has a copy of a January memo from his office in which Senate Secretary Effie Ameen expressly conveys this process to legislators:

Resolution calendaring requests must be given to Keri Brehm in the Majority Leader’s office at least ONE WEEK in advance of the date you wish for that Resolution to be heard.

The ADR report was submitted to State Senate leaders on April 2 — the same day that a resolution was unexpectedly called to debate Baumgardner’s expulsion. That resolution failed by a near-party line vote (Republican Sen. Ray Scott voted yes, but “Independent” Sen. Cheri Jahn was a ‘NO’), but it’s fair to wonder if the outcome might have been different had lawmakers been aware of the results of the second investigation into claims of sexual harassment against Baumgardner.

State lawmakers will adjourn in May without actually addressing the culture of sexual harassment, and here’s where this becomes particularly important: If Republicans maintain control of the State Senate in November, Chris Holbert will be the odds-on favorite to become the next Senate President. That’s the same Chris Holbert who appears to have covered up the results of a second investigation that likely would have resulted in Baumgardner’s ouster from the Senate — which would make it even more difficult for the GOP to maintain their Senate majority.

There’s no such thing as an honest cover-up.

14 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Diogenesdemar says:

    Idjut & DidIt . . .

  2. Zappatero says:

    Trump has proven inarguably that Republican Voters, even the most religious (and most hypocritical), don’t give a shit about morals, ethics, doing the right thing, being bipartisany and stuff. 

    It may be CPOLS sole mission to point out how immoral and stupid elected R’s are, but it’s not good enough to prove Democrats are better, either in social actions (they don’t care!) or in supporting better public policy (what policy?)

  3. Gilpin Guy says:

    Not surprising that Holbert would resort to the standard Republican practice of lying about his actions.  How in the world to they get away with it time after time?  They did the same thing before Trump but were more nervous about it.  Now they don't give a shit if they get caught.  Their cult will forgive them even if they shot somebody on 5th avenue.

  4. notaskinnycook says:

    I don't think this is the end of this saga. These things have a way of sneaking up and biting people in the butt down the road. Having gotten away with it, I expect The 'Stache to resume his bad behavior and more brazenly than before. It's what Republicans do.

    • blacksheep says:

      Randy Baumgardner is not the man the liberal media and Democrats have made him out to be. Randy's political enemies have gotten out of control. All of the allegations against him are hearsay. I think it's "more likely than not" Hillary Clinton's email server broke the law, but that wasn't enough to destroy Hillary and that weak standard shouldn't be enough to destroy Randy. This is a man's life and reputation at stake, he is entitled to due process.

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        but that wasn't enough to destroy Hillary

        You must have missed the rabid chanting of "Lock her up" by the RWNJ at GOP political events.

        Ironically, it was led at the '16 GOP convention by none other than Michael Flynn who is facing doing time himself.

      • Gray in Mountains says:

        Let’s have some due process, let’s have some more hearings!

      • Gray in Mountains says:

        Randy does NOT have a reputation that can be stained by this information. He stained his rep a long time ago when he sheltered an unregistered sex offender.

  5. Diogenesdemar says:

    Curious as to just which part — is it “due” or “process” — of Holbert’s evidence suppression (. . . wonder why that happened?) you’re wanting??

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