State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald is asking Iowa’s governor to ensure Iowa taxpayers don’t foot the bill for the judgment the former communications director for Republicans in the Iowa Senate won from a jury last week.
“We do have a tight budget and now we have this $2.2 million for those scoundrels up in the Republican senate to pay,” Fitzgerald says.
A jury awarded the money to Kirsten Anderson who filed a lawsuit charging her complaints about sexual harassment were disregarded and she was fired from her job on the Senate Republican Caucus Staff for complaining. Anderson’s bosses say she was fired for poor work and nothing else.
Fitzgerald, who is a Democrat, says testimony in the trial brought appalling behavior to light and he says Governor Kim Reynolds immediately should have insisted on changes in the legislature.
“She is the leader of this state. She’s the leader of the Republican Party,” Fitzgerald says. “She should have demanded a change….that we have professional operation in every area of state government.”
Reynolds told reporters last week she has a “zero tolerance policy” when it comes to sexual harassment in the state agencies she oversees, but Reynolds said she has no control over personnel policies in the legislature, which is a separate branch of state government.
Senate Republicans will meet privately this Friday. One Republican senator has publicly called for Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix to step down from his leadership post. The second-ranking Republican in the state senate has issued a statement supporting Dix.