DES MOINES (AP) — An investigation into alleged sexual harassment within the Senate Republican caucus of the Iowa Legislature is complete, according to a top official within the office, but there will be no report about it and no information will be shared with the public.
Ed Failor, senior aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix, told The Associated Press the office completed an internal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment highlighted during a trial this year involving a former staffer.
Failor said additional information cannot be shared publicly because it’s a personnel issue.
“Everybody in personnel has an expectation of privacy ... where they can say what they want to say with an expectation that it’s not going to end up in the newspaper,” he said.
Internal staff within the Senate GOP office conducted the investigation, according to Failor. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds implied several months ago the caucus should seek some type of independent review, but she wasn’t specific.
The investigation’s completion comes amid news the Senate GOP office is working with House Republicans to create a new human resources manager position to oversee harassment complaints at the Legislature. A job description says the person will work independently to investigate complaints, but the position’s structure hasn’t been figured out.
Discussions about sexual harassment have gained traction in recent weeks around the country, including at statehouses, amid allegations of sexual abuse and harassment that started with film mogul Harvey Weinstein and have spread to include many others. In Iowa, the issue dates back to a lawsuit filed several years ago by Kirsten Anderson, a former communications director for Senate Republicans.
Anderson testified at a trial this year she was fired in 2013, hours after she complained about sexual harassment in the office. Her supervisors, including Dix, say Anderson was laid off because of poor work performance.
A jury awarded Anderson $2.2 million. She later settled with the state for $1.75 million. Anderson says she understands privacy concerns, but there’s a lack of transparency in not sharing general information about what was done and what’s being done to make the office better.
“Why all the secrecy?” she asked. “This is the place where our laws are made. The people’s house ... why the secrecy?”