Republicans in Iowa have responded to accusations surrounding Mike Franken, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from Iowa, where his former campaign manager accused him of making “several” unwanted advances on women, including understood herself.
Mike Franken – who is 64, is married and has two children – was accused by his former campaign manager Kimberley Strope-Boggus in an unearthed police report on Monday of ‘seizing'[ing] the collar of the waistcoat she was wearing and kissed her on the mouth” before she could “retreat” when they met for a drink at a bar in March.
Strope-Boggus described Franken as “old school” and having “interactions with 1950s women”, which was “something he did to several other women”.
After his first campaign event on Monday, following the bombshell report, he dismissed the former campaign manager’s claims as “baseless”, saying it “didn’t happen”. Yet when asked if the pair had met, he said they “had a glass of beer”.
On Tuesday, Michaela Sundermann, the campaign communications director for Franken’s opponent Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), released a statement saying the information is “clearly disturbing” and that “victims deserve a chance to ‘be heard’, like this alleged victim. is unable to be heard. Franken’s accuser had signed a non-disclosure agreement, which means she is not allowed to make derogatory remarks about him.
These reports are clearly disturbing. Victims deserve a chance to be heard, and it is wrong to pressure them to keep quiet. Franken’s alleged victim should be given the opportunity to be heard and to defend his reputation. Any candidate for office accused of unwanted advances or inappropriate behavior owes voters a clear and honest explanation. So far Mike Franken has only issued general denials – effectively calling his own former campaign manager a liar – but he has yet to address the specific charges in the police report. He erroneously said the report was ‘baseless’, but he knows that doesn’t mean the incident didn’t happen. This legal classification only speaks to the level of proof needed for the Des Moines Police Department to investigate a crime. Because his alleged victim is under a nondisclosure agreement, according to the police report, Iowans are only hearing one side of the story. Iowans deserve to know the full story, including why he and his attorneys allegedly tried to silence the victim and her spouse. If the allegations are false, as claimed by Mike Franken, then there is no reason to prevent his staff from speaking freely so that the people of Iowa can determine for themselves what is credible. Hiding behind non-disclosure agreements and blanket denials is unacceptable for a candidate seeking public trust.
Grassley’s campaign press release also touted a Grassley co-sponsored bill, the Speak Out Act, that the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced last week. The bill ensures that survivors of sexual assault or harassment cannot be prevented from discussing their experiences because of a previously signed nondisclosure agreement.
Additionally, Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann, on a press call with reporters on Tuesday, also pointed to the bill that Grassley helped push through the Senate Judiciary Committee while mentioning that his committee is making the “strongest plea” to Franken to release the victim from the NDA and give him a chance to speak out.
Kaufmann further explained that his committee “is not calling on this victim to speak out” because it’s “entirely his business” but that the “Republican Party says Franken must release the victim from the non-commitment agreement. disclosure”. Kaufmann accused Franken of hiding behind the NDA and “weaponizing her” because he called his accuser a lair while still silencing her under the NDA. “There is something inherently wrong about this,” Kaufmann added.
I’ve been in this situation where I was asked what I thought of a particular Republican who made statements like he did and was charged, and I stood up, and I said to these. The Democratic Party does not do that. My candidates, my office holders have been asked time and time again a question similar to the one I am proposing. I am not complaining. I’m just saying wear the shoe on both feet in this particular case… Let’s not allow him to call someone a liar and then silence that particular person. There’s something inherently unfair about that, and that’s why I’m calling on all elected Democrats the same way they would call on elected Republicans to get Franken to lift this NDA. And… if this victim if she chooses to answer that she is being called a liar.
Also, on Monday, Franken was supposed to be joined by two other Democrats, Liz Mathis and Christina Bohannan. When they didn’t show up, Franken’s campaign cited “scheduling conflict,” which Mathis’ campaign later tried to confirm in a statement saying she had “another commitment” that “bumped” Franken.
Shortly after Mathis released the statement, Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA), who is running against Mathis in the Second Congressional District, quickly denounced Franken and encouraged the Democrat to do the same instead of using conveniently a “schedule conflict” to not be seen publicly with the Senate hopeful.
“Sexual assault is always wrong and the allegations against Admiral Mike Franken are deeply troubling,” Hinson said. “A ‘scheduling conflict’ is no substitute for reporting sexual assault allegations, and State Senator Liz Mathis must disavow Mike Franken immediately.”
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.