It is mind-blowing to me that some would suggest or insinuate that Iowa’s first female Governor, Kim Reynolds, is at best not serious about sexual harassment or at worst complicit in covering it up.
After the Reynolds Administration released the original letter from an employee of the Iowa Finance Authority accusing then IFA executive director Dave Jamison of sexual harassment (who Reynolds subsequently fired), the Iowa Democratic Party decided to inject partisanship into this issue.
IDP Chair Tony Price tweeted:
It is unconscionable that this kind of predatory behavior was allowed under the Reynolds Admin and that Reynolds sought to cover up the details of the complaint. The report shows the Reynolds Admin permitted a long pattern of abusive behavior by a close friend of the Governor.
It is unconscionable that this kind of predatory behavior was allowed under the Reynolds Admin and that Reynolds sought to cover up the details of the complaint. The report shows the Reynolds Admin permitted a long pattern of abusive behavior by a close friend of the Governor. https://t.co/5T3niOiox0
— Troy Price (@troymprice) April 26, 2018
As Reynolds explained in an interview with WHO-TV’s Dave Price, she did not want to release the letter because she promised the victim she wouldn’t, and it is only released it because the victim asked for it to be released.
She probably would have been forced to share the letter had somebody taken her to court, and perhaps the Iowa Legislature should consider whether or not personnel matters like this should be subject to Iowa’s Open Records Law. Her intent was not to cover up what Jamison did.
In fact, throughout the interview, you can virtually see the disgust on Reynolds’ face toward his behavior. Her decision to hold the letter was about protecting the victim, not the perpetrator, period.
As far as Reynolds’ “allowing” Jamison to engage in this kind of behavior, that is a ridiculous claim. The letter is dated March 21. The Governor’s office says they received it on March 23, and Reynolds’ fired him less than 24 hours later.
That is what you call nipping the behavior in the bud.
The letter noted two IFA officials confronting Jamison about his behavior. The first IFA’s chief executive officer Brian Brian Crozier and then IFA’s general counsel Mark Thompson. The Des Moines Register reports that the interim director Carolann Jensen, who was then the agency’s chief programs officer, warned Jamison six months ago.
Democrats are again asserting that Reynolds had to have known.
— Jeff Link (@linkiowa) April 30, 2018
Should she have known earlier? Absolutely yes, but you can’t know something no one reports to you. I don’t believe for a second Jamison would have stayed in his job had Reynolds known. How do I know this? Because of her swift action firing him in March.
What would she have to gain by not acting? Why would she overlook it and then act when receiving a letter? That does not make sense.
The Reynolds Administration has ordered an independent investigation into Iowa Finance Authority. Here is where I think Reynolds could have been more proactive. Even if the letter was not released, they knew that IFA employees knew about Jamison’s behavior (the letter said so). If I were Governor, I would like to know why it wasn’t reported. That does not mean you have to engage in a witch hunt, but it’s important to find out what happened and what improvements need to be made. Now that the letter is public, an independent review is appropriate and I’m glad they ordered it.
Des Moines attorney Mark Weinhardt will head the investigation and will submit a report to the Governor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office. Weinhardt was selected by the Governor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office to investigate the conduct that led to Jamison’s firing and any similar incidents or conduct during his tenure as executive director. Reynolds tasked Weinhardt with investigating what IFA employees knew about these matters and the appropriateness of the response to them.
It’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback on matters like these, but I believe Reynolds took appropriate action and that she takes sexual harassment in state government seriously. Sexual harassment shouldn’t become a wedge issue in the gubernatorial election.