Government

No committee assignments for Iowa senator facing ethics charges

Petersen skips over Boulton until investigation completed

Democratic members of the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee (from left) Kevin Kinney, Janet Petersen, Nate Boulton and Tony Bisignano speak during a February session at the Statehouse in Des Moines. Petersen, the Senate minroty leader, on Friday skipped assigning Boulton to any committees, saying she would wait for the outcome of a Senate ethics investgation into complaints of sexual misconduct against him. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Democratic members of the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee (from left) Kevin Kinney, Janet Petersen, Nate Boulton and Tony Bisignano speak during a February session at the Statehouse in Des Moines. Petersen, the Senate minroty leader, on Friday skipped assigning Boulton to any committees, saying she would wait for the outcome of a Senate ethics investgation into complaints of sexual misconduct against him. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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A Democratic senator facing an ethics investigation has not been given any committee assignments by Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen.

Petersen, a Des Moines Democrat, announced Democratic committee assignments Friday, but Sen. Nate Boulton, also of Des Moines, was not given any committee responsibilities.

“I will defer making any committee assignments for Sen. Boulton until the Senate Ethics Committee completes its ongoing investigation into the complaint filed against him,” she said.

She’s referring to a complaint filed by Des Moines attorney Sharon Wegner outlining allegations she made last May that Boulton pursued her in a bar in 2015 and repeatedly grabbed her buttocks without her consent.

Wegner was one of three women — all lawyers and two of them law school classmates of Boulton’s — who said he had inappropriately accosted them years ago.

None of the situations occurred in workplace settings and all occurred before Boulton was a senator, but they derailed Boulton’s bid for the Democratic nomination for governor earlier this year.

In announcing committee assignments, Petersen said Democrats “are committed to working with the governor and Republican legislators on issues where we can find common ground,” especially on policies that improve access to health care and better-paying jobs.

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“However, if Republicans continue pushing an agenda that hurts the health care, education and pocketbooks of working Iowans, we will be fierce in our opposition,” she added.

Republicans will have a 32-18 majority in the Senate when the Legislature convenes Jan. 14.

Area lawmakers who will be ranking members of Senate committees and appropriations subcommittees include Kevin Kinney of Oxford, Agriculture and Judiciary; Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City, Appropriations; Liz Mathis of Hiawatha, Human Resources, and Ag and Natural Resources Appropriations; Todd Taylor of Cedar Rapids, Labor and Business Relations; Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids, Natural Resources and Environment, and Justice Systems Appropriations; and Zach Wahls of Iowa City, Education Appropriations.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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