The top Democrats in the state Assembly are backing up Republican lawmakers in their call for ousted Majority Leader Bill Kramer to resign from the Legislature. Democratic leaders sent a letter to the Waukesha Republican on Monday, asking him to step down before his term ends next January. Republicans made a similar request last week.
The push for Kramer to resign comes after he was charged last month with sexual assault, based on allegations that he aggressively groped a woman in the parking lot of a Muskego bar in 2011. In a separate incident, Kramer is also accused of groping a legislative aide and sexually harassing another woman during a fundraising trip to Washington D.C. earlier this year. Kramer was stripped of his role as majority leader last month after those reports first surfaced and has indicated he will not seek reelection in the fall.
Democrats also sent a letter to Republican leadership, accusing them of not going far enough to discipline Kramer’s behavior. They are asking for Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) to keep the option of forming a special ethics committee on the table to consider the allegations, along with possibly starting the process to expel Kramer from the chamber. Vos and other Republicans decided last week not to pursue action to remove Kramer from office, citing concerns that holding hearings could impact the pending sexual assault case against him.
Kramer’s attorney has so far indicated that his client has no intention of leaving the Assembly before his term expires, while also arguing that any efforts to remove him now would violate his constitutional rights to due process. While he has been accused of wrongdoing, Kramer has not been convicted of any crimes. The embattled lawmaker is due in court next week for his initial appearance on the sexual assault charges.