Charges of sexual assault filed against former Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, have led to calls for his expulsion from his elected seat.
The Wisconsin Constitution states a member of the Assembly can be voted out by two-thirds majority without any action from the Senate or governor. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he is looking into the legal process to expel Kramer, who was charged with two counts of sexual assault last week.
“Bill Kramer should do the honorable thing and resign,” Vos said in the statement. “When I read the report filed by the (police and prosecutors), it didn’t seem to me like there was much remorse.”
Kramer’s Assembly GOP colleagues ousted him as majority leader last month after accusations that he groped a legislative aide and harrassed a lobbyist at a Washington D.C. fundraiser in February.
But the expulsion discussion comes after Kramer was charged with sexual assault for a 2011 incident.
James Gatzke, Kramer’s attorney, said the discussion of expelling Kramer from the Assembly was premature.
“Rep. Kramer will continue to seek therapy,” Gatzke said. “He plans to stay in the Legislature until the end of the term.”
Gatzke said it would be “foolish” for the Assembly to go through the proceedings necessary to vote to expel Kramer. He said Kramer is entitled to have a jury of his peers determine whether he is guilty or not.
“If he were to be found guilty, then I believe that it would be appropriate for the Legislature to take some actions based on that finding,” he said. “We’ve got to give this guy a chance to at least have his case heard before we sanction him.”
Gatzke said Kramer could go to trial before the end of the year, depending on how quickly the state proceeds.
Only one lawmaker in Wisconsin history has been expelled by vote, the Journal Sentinel reported. In 1917, Sen. Frank Raguse, a socialist from Milwaukee, was voted out because he made statements that were considered disloyal to the United States.
[Photo from Flickr user Richard Hurd]