Iowa GOPers Respond to Franken’s Alleged Unwanted Advances Towards Women

Iowa Republicans were responding to allegations against Mike Franken, Iowa’s Democratic US Senate nominee, where his former campaign manager accused him of “multiple” unwelcome advances toward women, including himself.

On Monday, Mike Franken – who is 64, married and a father of two – was accused of “grabbing” by his former campaign manager Kimberley Strope-Boggus in an unearthed police report[ing] down the collar of the vest she was wearing and kissed her on the mouth” before she could “pull away” when they met for drinks at a bar in March.

Strope-Boggus described Franken as “old school” and having “1950s interactions with women,” which “was something he did to several other women.”

After his first campaign rally on Monday, following the bomb report, he dismissed the former campaign manager’s allegations as “baseless” and said it “didn’t happen”. However, when asked if the two had met, he said they “had a pint of beer.”

On Tuesday, Michaela Sundermann, the campaign communications director for Franken’s opponent, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), released a statement saying the reports were “clearly disturbing” and “victims deserve a chance to be heard.” like this alleged victim is not heard. Franken’s prosecutor has signed a non-disclosure agreement, which means she is not allowed to make disparaging remarks about him.

Sunderman explained:

These reports are clearly disturbing. Victims deserve a chance to be heard, and silencing them is wrong. Franken’s alleged victim should have the opportunity to be heard and to defend her good name. Any candidate for office accused of making unwanted advances or inappropriate behavior owes voters a clear and honest explanation. So far, Mike Franken has only flatly denied — effectively calling his own former campaign manager a liar — but he has yet to address the specific allegations in the police report. He has wrongly said the report was “unfounded,” but he knows that doesn’t mean the incident didn’t happen. This legal classification speaks only to the level of evidence required by the Des Moines Police Department to investigate a crime. Because his alleged victim is under a non-disclosure agreement, Iowans only hear one side of the story, according to the police report. Iowans deserve to know the full story, including why he and his attorneys allegedly tried to silence the victim and her spouse. If the claims are false, as Mike Franken claims, there is no reason to prevent his staff from speaking freely so Iowans can determine for themselves what is credible. Hiding behind non-disclosure agreements and blanket denials is unacceptable for a candidate who wants to gain the public’s trust.

Grassley’s campaign press release also promoted a bill that Grassley co-sponsored, the Speak Out Act, which the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced last week. The bill guarantees that survivors of sexual assault or harassment cannot be prevented from discussing their experiences because of a previously signed non-disclosure agreement.

In addition, during a press briefing with reporters on Tuesday, Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann also referenced the bill that helped Grassley get through the Senate Judiciary Committee, while noting that his committee was the “strongest Please” addressed to Franken Release the victim from the NDA and give her the opportunity to express herself.

Kaufmann went on to explain that his committee “is not asking this victim to speak up” because that is “all their business,” but that the “Republican Party says Franken must release the victim from the non-disclosure agreement.” Kaufmann accused Franken of hiding behind the NDA and “using her as a weapon” for calling his accuser a hiding while still silencing her under the NDA. “There’s something fundamentally wrong with that,” Kaufmann added.

He continued:

I’ve been in this situation where I was asked what I thought about a certain Republican who made statements like him and who was accused, and I stood up and responded to that. The Democratic Party doesn’t do that. My candidates, my officers, have been asked a question similar to the one I am proposing over and over again. I’m not complaining. I’m just saying, in this particular case, let’s wear the shoe on both feet… let’s not let him call someone a liar and then shut that particular person up. There’s something inherently unfair about this, and so I’m urging all Democratic officers the same way I would be urging Republican officers for Franks to lift this non-disclosure agreement. And…if that victim chooses to respond to being called a liar.

In addition, Franken was there on Monday target plus two other Democrats, Liz Mathis and Christina Bohannan. When they didn’t show up, Franken’s campaign quoted “Scheduling conflict,” which Mathis’ campaign later attempted to confirm in a statement, in which she said she had “another date” that Franken “initiated.”

Shortly after Mathis released the statement, Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA), who is running against Mathis in the second congressional district, was quick to denounce Franken and encouraged the Democrat to do the same, rather than conveniently using a “scheduling conflict” to avoid to be publicly seen with the Senate, hopefully.

“Sexual assault is always unacceptable, and the allegations against Admiral Mike Franken are deeply disturbing,” 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 or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss. Iowa GOPers Respond to Franken’s Alleged Unwanted Advances Towards Women

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