After six months, two separate investigations, and at least one cover-up related to more than a dozen accusations of sexual harassment against Sen. Randy “Boob Grabber” Baumgardner, Senate President Kevin Grantham has finally decided to take action…with four days left in the 2018 legislative session.
KUNC’s Bente Birkeland has the story (again):
Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham has stripped Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, from serving on any Senate committees effective as of May 2. Grantham requested the change after workplace harassment allegations from nine people have been found credible by two outside investigators.
“Please be advised immediately I am removing Senator Randy Baumgardner from Capital Development Committee, Transportation Legislation Review Committee, Water Resources Review Committee, and Wildfire Matters Review Committee,” stated Grantham in a letter (PDF) to Mike Mauer, the nonpartisan director of the Legislative Council.
In a separate letter, Majority Leader Chris Holbert appointed Sen. John Cooke (PDF), R-Greeley, as vice chair of the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee. Unlike the House, the Senate does not require a member to serve on any committees.
The changes impact the committees that meet during the interim and remain in place until the next Senate president and majority leader are selected during the 2019 legislative session. One leadership team cannot bind the next, and Grantham is term limited.
As Marshall Zelinger of 9News quickly opined, Baumgardner’s punishment essentially means he just has less work to do for the remaining four days of the legislative session. Grantham is term-limited in 2018, so even if Republicans manage to maintain their majority in the State Senate, the “Boob Grabber” won’t be his problem anymore. Perhaps this move helps Grantham look at his mustache in the mirror, but it does absolutely nothing to indicate to victims of sexual harassment that their claims will be taken seriously by Colorado Republicans. As Birkeland notes:
“If we’re done and there’s no more consequences. I’m astonished,” said the male non-partisan Senate staffer who filed one of the complaints. “Removal from committees doesn’t mean anything to anybody except the Senator.”
In February, Grantham announced what amounted to a voluntary castigation for Baumgardner. Six weeks later, Baumgardner narrowly avoided expulsion from the Senate when a hastily-announced resolution failed by a near-party line vote (Republican Sen. Ray Scott voted yes, but “Independent” Sen. Cheri Jahn was a ‘NO’). That vote might have played out differently had Grantham and Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert not worked together to temporarily bury a second investigation into accusations against Baumgardner. Senate Democrats called for a second expulsion vote in the wake of that cover-up, but Grantham and Holbert weren’t about to let that happen after working so hard to protect the “Boob Grabber” in the first place.
As far as Senate Republicans are concerned, a slap on the ass just gets a slap on the wrist.