State Rep. Bill Kramer checked himself in to a treatment facility Saturday for an unspecified reason and wasn't at Tuesday's meeting. Kramer, who had held the Assembly's second-most powerful position since September, hasn't commented publicly about the allegations.
Republicans, who hold a 60-39 majority in the Assembly, voted unanimously in a secret ballot to boot Kramer from the majority leadership post. They were meeting privately to discuss whether to leave the position vacant or to replace Kramer, who has been a member of the Assembly since 2007.
The majority leader is in charge of setting the agenda for the Assembly and working with lawmakers on the process of getting their bills through the process. In election years, like this one, the majority leader is also expected to help with fundraising and other campaign duties. All 99 Assembly seats are up for election in November.
Gov. Scott Walker on Monday endorsed the move to remove Kramer, saying "I don't think there's any place for someone in a position of public trust to be in office if they've done those things." Walker, a potential 2016 presidential hopeful, is not seen as closely allied with Kramer and didn't publicly back his elevation to majority leader.
Kramer is known for his sometimes flamboyant and confrontational style. He has admitted to carrying a concealed handgun on the floor of the Assembly to protect himself and in his previous position presiding over the Assembly, he was a stickler for the rules, especially those covering spectators in the galleries.
Republicans with direct knowledge of the current situation said one of the women involved was a lobbyist and the other was a legislative staff member. The Republicans spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized by their attorneys to comment publicly about the alleged victims.
Neither the lobbyist nor the staffer in question responded to requests for comment left Monday by The Associated Press. The requests were left in-person at the office of the staffer and on the voicemail and home answering machine of the lobbyist.
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