Republicans seek to oust majority leader after harassment complaints

Bill Kramer faces sexual assault allegations
Republicans seek to oust majority leader after harassment complaints

Assembly Republicans will consider removing their majority leader Tuesday morning after allegations of sexual harassment.

Rep. Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, is accused of groping a lobbyist at a high-dollar Washington D.C. fundraiser last Wednesday and making inappropriate comments to a state legislative staffer on the plane ride home.

Kramer was speaker pro tempore of the Assembly until late in 2013 when he was elected majority leader following the resignation of Rep. Scott Suder.

“The caucus voted him as the majority leader,” said Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, and GOP caucus chair. “He was aware that we all felt he would be our representative, and we all expected him to portray himself in a manner that would not embarrass the caucus.”

But Ballweg said after conference calls and meetings, the Assembly GOP leadership team is recommending that Kramer be removed from his post as majority leader, and will call for a vote on the matter Tuesday morning.

“Personally of course, I feel that it is wholly inappropriate to have unwanted touching, which is part of the allegations, and of course any kind of verbal abuse that has been alleged” Ballweg said.

Gov. Scott Walker went one step further when asked about Kramer’s actions.

“If it’s true I don’t think there’s any place for someone in a position of public trust to be in office if they’ve done those things,” Walker said. “I need to know more details if that indeed is accurate.”

Kramer has not spoken to the media and did not have an expected meeting over the weekend with Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and other leadership members. He released a brief statement saying he was in a rehabilitation facility, but did not detail what he was seeking treatment for. A spokesman for Kramer said he would not be at the caucus meeting Tuesday.