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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

Bill Kramer Must Resign or Be Expelled

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By Charlie Sykes, Brian Fraley and Collin Roth of

Republican State Representative Bill Kramer should immediately resign from the State Assembly. If he does not, the Republican leadership should take immediate steps to expel him.
His recent behavior on a junket to Washington, D.C. has already prompted his fellow Republicans to strip him of his position as Assembly Majority Leader. It was the right thing to do. But that no longer suffices.
He has now  been charged with two felony counts of sexual assault, stemming from an incident in 2011. The criminal complaint makes for grim reading. The incident described goes beyond "groping" to actual assault. 
The woman Kramer assaulted was a political supporter and someone who trusted him. Like so many others, Kramer violated that trust.
But the identity of Kramer's alleged victims is inconsequential. It never matters if victims of sexual assault are politically connected. if they are rich or poor, black or white, Republican or Democrat....none of this matters. Nor does the possible political ramifications of Kramer's downfall.
We are compelled to call for Kramer's removal because his behavior casts a pall over the Wisconsin legislature. Like Representatives Dave Plombon (a Democrat) and Jeff Wood (an Independent) in years past, Kramer's transgressions transcend political calculus.
That Kramer has been accused of such crimes does not mean he is guilty. In our legal system there is always the presumption of legal innocence.  However, the Waukesha County district attorney found the evidence credible enough to merit action on his part.
We find the same. 
But we are also struck by Kramer's reaction to the accusations, including his rambling, flippant, and contradictory statements. Kramer in turn, tries to blame the victim and makes weak attempts at humor. According to the police criminal complaint, Kramer told a detective: "(The victim) has very nice doctor enhanced breasts. I am not a big fan of those I like the real ones. I do not have any incentive to put my hands on her breasts."
Supposedly, Kramer has been in rehab for the last few weeks. But his response makes it clear that, at least so far, it hasn't worked. You would think that being publicly humiliated and stripped of his position as leader would be enough for him to fundamentally re-examine his life and his attitude toward women.
Evidently, he hasn't learned a thing.
The criminal justice system will take its course. But the choice for Republicans and the full legislature is clear. Too many people who should have known better have looked the other way for too long. There have been too many excuses, too many enablers.
He must go. Now.

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