Previously, it was reported that Mike Franken, the Iowa Democrat trying to unseat Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), is facing a sexual harassment allegation from his former campaign manager, Kimberley Strope-Boggus.
Now, according to a new report from Politico, Strope-Boggus is speaking out about the backlash that she has received since making the allegation, and other sources have confirmed Franken’s questionable behavior around women.
The original accusation
It was in April that Strope-Boggus filed a police report with the Des Moines Police Department, in which she accuses Franken – whose name is blacked out in the report – of at least one unwanted advance that occurred in March when the two met at a bar for drinks.
Strope-Boggus told police that Franken “grabbed the collar of the vest she was wearing and kissed her on her mouth” before she could “pull away.” Strope-Boggus further described Franken as having “1950s interactions with women.”
Since then, Franken, who is married with two children, has denied the allegations on multiple occasions. The police also decided that the allegation was “unfounded” and that there was “insufficient evidence and information to pursue a criminal investigation.”
But, it has also come to be known that Franken had a non-disclosure agreement with Strope-Boggus, which prevented her from speaking about it.
Now, Strope-Boggus is speaking out about the backlash she has received as a result of her allegation against Franken.
She told Politico:
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am honest to a fault. Michael Franken kissed me without my consent. It happened. And now, again, without my consent, I am being mentioned by both sides as though I am a disposable pawn in the political machine. I hope we can all take a step back and look at how we treat women who come forward and how we react to their stories. What happened to me and what is happening now is not my fault. It’s his. That has always been, and will remain, the truth.
In addition to this, Politico reports that another person who has worked with Franken has confirmed what Strope-Boggus has claimed about Franken’s behavior around women. The anonymous source described the behavior as “really uncomfortable.”
Grassley’s campaign is capitalizing on the situation.
Michaela Sundermann, Grassley’s campaign communications director, has put out a statement, saying:
The pattern that’s emerging raises very serious questions for Iowans and the public trust. It’s unclear what Mike Franken could say to offset what his accusers are saying, but it’s a situation that calls for transparency and accountability. Sexual harassment and assault are never acceptable. Candidates seeking office must answer to the public.
With all this being said, the accusations probably aren’t going to change the race between Franken and Grassley that much anyway. Polls suggest that Grassley has been and is firmly in the lead.