Assembly Republicans back off expulsion of Kramer
MADISON — Republican Assembly leaders on Thursday sent embattled Rep. Bill Kramer a letter demanding his resignation, but did not say they would push to expel him from the Legislature before his term is up at the end of the year.
Speaker Robin Vos's office issued a statement following a meeting with GOP leaders to discuss Kramer after he was charged last week with two felony counts of sexual assault after he was accused of groping a woman following a 2011 Republican fundraiser.
The statement said if Kramer refuses to resign, voters in his district could proceed with recalling him from office, a procedure that would take months. The statement does not mention the possibility of lawmakers moving ahead with kicking Kramer out of office, something Vos earlier said was being considered.
Republicans unanimously removed Kramer last month as Assembly majority leader following separate accusations that he groped a legislative aide following a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., and harassed a female lobbyist.
In the wake of those accusations, Kramer said he checked himself into a treatment facility and said he wouldn't run for re-election in the fall. But he has refused to step down from his job, which pays $49,943 a year.
Kramer's attorney, James Gatzke, said the call for Kramer to resign is premature. Republicans are essentially asking Kramer to abandon his constitutional rights to due process and the presumption that he's innocent until proven guilty, Gatzke said.
"I don't think any clear-thinking representative would seriously expect a member of the Legislature (to) abandon his constitutional rights, the same rights they all swore to uphold, protect and defend," Gatzke said.