U.S. Senate candidate Mike Franken accused of assault by former campaign manager

The Des Moines Police Department investigated the alleged incident and found the claims were unfounded and did not file charges against Franken.

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Gabby Drees

Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Mike Franken speaks at a fundraising event for democratic candidates Liz Mathis and Christina Bohannan at the Sutliff Farm & Cider House in Lisbon, Iowa.

Liam Halawith and Emily Delgado


Editor’s note: This is a developing story, check back for updates.

Mike Franken, Iowa’s Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, denied the assault allegation made by his former campaign manager Kimberly Strope-Boggus.

Strope-Boggus filed a report alleging Franken forcibly kissed her during March.

“These allegations are false. This accusation was investigated by the Des Moines Police Department and the Polk County Attorney’s Office who found no wrongdoing and closed the case as unfounded,” Julie Stauch, current campaign manager Franken for Iowa, wrote in a statement to *The Daily Iowan*.

According to reporting from *The Cedar Rapids Gazette*, during a campaign event on Monday Franken said that Strope-Boggus had asked to meet him at the bar, and that he had a glass of beer. Franken told the Gazette the allegations were politically motivated by Republicans.

The impact on the Franken campaign is unclear. According to Iowa Code 43.76, a candidate nominated in a primary election for any office requiring nomination papers be filed with the state commissioner can withdraw up to 81 days before the general election by notifying the state commissioner in writing. As of Wednesday, it is 48 days from the Nov. 8 midterms, meaning Franken can not withdraw from the election.

Franken is challenging Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in the November midterms. He won the Democratic primary in Iowa with 57 percent of the vote in June.

The news of the police report was first reported by Iowa Field Report, a conservative-leaning publication. 

The Daily Iowan obtained a copy of the police report from the Polk County Attorney’s office with the name of the alleged offender in the report blacked out. However, Strope-Boggus was named in the report and identified herself to the officer as having worked as a campaign manager for the alleged offender’s campaigns during the time periods she managed Franken’s campaigns.

The impact on the Franken campaign is unclear. According to Iowa Code 43.76, a candidate nominated in a primary election for any office requiring nomination papers be filed with the state commissioner can withdraw up to 81 days before the general election by notifying the state commissioner in writing. As of Monday, it is 50 days from the Nov. 8 midterms. 

RELATED: Mike Franken wins the Democratic nomination, will take on Sen. Grassley in November

Assistant Polk County Attorney Meggan Guns decided that no criminal act occurred at the time and no charges were filed, according to the police report. The case was closed on April 12 and filed as unfounded. 

Strope-Boggus worked for Franken during his 2019-20 primary race for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat against Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, but she and Franken still kept in contact after his campaign ended, according to the police report. 

She was his campaign manager for his current race for the U.S. Senate until February 2022 after she was allegedly fired, according to the Des Moines police report

Upon her departure, Strope-Boggus said in the report that she was allegedly asked to sign a document agreeing to not make negative remarks toward Franken or the campaign. At the time, Strope-Boggus said she did not know why the campaign made her sign said document.

In March 2022, a month after her departure from the campaign, Strope-Boggus met with Franken at a bar for drinks, Strope-Boggus told Des Moines police detective Abby Giampolo. As they were leaving the bar, Strope-Boggus said Franken grabbed her by the collar and kissed her on the mouth. Franken and Strope-Boggus remained in contact following the event, according to a statement recorded by Giampolo. 

Strope-Boggus said in the report that she has seen Franken kiss and hug other women. Giampolo asked Strope-Boggus when she was contacted on April 12 to file the report, if she thinks Franken’s behavior is sexual or aggressive. Strope-Boggus replied no. Strope-Boggus did not describe Franken as having an intent to harm her or other women he kissed. 

“She stated he just has an old-fashioned view of how to interact with women, and this is a part of it,” Giampolo wrote in the police report on April 12, 2022.

Strope-Boggus said in a statement to Giampolo on April 12 that she wants Franken to take responsibility for his actions and change his behavior. 

Franken has not tweeted or put out any statements since the report broke on Iowa Field Report, but he held a campaign event in Cedar Rapids Monday. The event was scheduled with Democratic U.S. House candidates state Sen. Liz Mathis and state Rep. Christina Bohannan, who did not appear at the event after the news of the police report broke. 

In an email to the DI, Public Information Officer Sgt. Paul Parizek wrote that the Polk County Attorney’s office reviewed the case and determined there was no criminal act committed.

Iowa lawmakers respond

Iowa lawmakers respond

U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, tweeted a statement Monday denouncing the assault allegations. She wrote sexual assault is unacceptable.

“A ‘scheduling conflict’ is no substitute for denouncing sexual assault allegations and State Senator Liz Mathis must disavow Mike Franken immediately,” Hinson tweeted.

Franken held a campaign event in Cedar Rapids on Monday. The event was scheduled with Democratic U.S. House candidates state Sen. Liz Mathis and state Rep. Christina Bohannan, who did not appear at the event after the news of the police report broke.

Sen. Liz Mathis, D-Hiawatha, released a written statement on Monday afternoon after Hinson critiqued her for not disavowing Franken.

“It is an important reminder that workplaces and law enforcement should encourage women to feel comfortable coming forward with any allegations of inappropriate conduct,” Mathis said in a statement.

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, tweeted a statement late Monday afternoon and said she finds the allegations deeply troubling.

“We all know stories of women being assaulted, harassed, or otherwise disrespected in the workplace,” Miller-Meeks said in a statement.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, tweeted she finds the accusations made towards Franken “gravely concerning.”

Natalie Dunlap and Sabine Martin contributed to this DI report.

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