UPDATE: Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said Monday the Iowa Senate should look into claims a former staffer made Sunday that male senators and staffers harassed and behaved inappropriately in the workplace. Branstad said, “I think it should be investigated by the senate. It’s a separate branch of government. So I think they have the right procedures in place. They should investigate and determine whether or not…whether these allegations are true or not.”
SUNDAY NIGHT STORY:
Without naming names, a former Iowa Statehouse staffer claimed persistent inappropriate behavior from male staffers, including state senators, during her time working for senate Republicans. Kirsten Anderson worked at the statehouse for 5 years and served as the communications director for senate Republicans. Anderson revealed her allegations during an exclusive interview on Channel 13 Sunday morning.
Anderson claims Friday she asked higher ups at the office to update the sexual harassment policies. She said she provided them with documentation detailing the improper behavior she faced. Anderson said she was fired by day’s end. Anderson declined to say who fired her.
Anderson called the office environment “toxic” and said the conditions existed before the current legislative session. She said male staffers and senators used sexist language, commented about her body and her clothes.
Sunday afternoon, Ed Failor, Junior, an assistant to Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix, said, “Sexual harassment has not and will not be tolerated under the leadership of Bill Dix.”
Failor said the real reason Anderson got fired was because of her performance. Failor said, “She was terminated for cause, which has to do with her work product, which had been brought to her attention months ago. And it didn’t improve.”
No Republican senator responded to the allegations Sunday. A spokesman for Governor Terry Branstad also declined comment.
Hear what Democratic Des Moines Attorney Jerry Crawford and Republican Vice President of Public Affairs for PolicyWorks Bob Haus have to say about the alleged harassment, here.