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Assembly leaders call on Kramer to resign, won't pursue expulsion

Democrats say there should be ethics investigation

Assembly leaders call on Kramer to resign, won't pursue expulsion

MADISON, Wis. - Assembly leaders are calling on a member of their caucus to resign, but will not pursue action to expel him from office.

Republican leaders met Thursday to discuss whether to consider expulsion of Rep. Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, after two felony sexual assault charges were filed against him.

A former legislative staffer accused Kramer of touching her inappropriately in 2011 following a Republican event in Muskego.

Leaders said late Thursday they were sending a letter demanding that Kramer resign, but ultimately not pursuing an ethics investigation.

"With respect to the alleged victim, we believe the criminal process should proceed without interference," said the statement from the Assembly Republican Leadership Team.

The statement continues, "Should Rep. Kramer ignore this demand from his colleagues, the constituents of his assembly district can take steps to remove him from office through the recall process."

Kramer's attorney said that won't happen.

"I will tell you that he has indicated to me that he is not interested in stepping down, and is going to pursue his right to defend himself against the claims made," attorney James Gatzke said.

Democrats say Republicans shouldn't close the door on any investigation.

"I think we have to be open to having this ethics investigation because of the fact that, if he's found guilty he would be expelled immediately. However, if they plea-bargain this down, the legislature should be prepared to come back in," Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, said.

A spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Burlington, confirmed Thursday the Assembly won't pursue action to expel Kramer during the criminal case for concern over jeopardizing that process.

If he is convicted of a felony or misdemeanors, he may be ineligible to hold office under state law.

Kramer is expected to be in court on the charges April 14.

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