Grassley says he won’t center Franken allegations, Grassley Works calls for accuser’s release from NDA

Sen. Chuck Grassley’s campaign is calling on his opponent, Mike Franken, to release his former campaign staffer from an NDA after allegations surfaced of assault.


Matt Sindt

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks during Ashley Hinson’s BBQ Bash at the Linn County Fairgrounds Sunday, August 28, 2022.

Liam Halawith, Politics Reporter

After Democratic senate candidate, Mike Franken was accused of alleged assault by his former campaign staffer Kimberly Strope-Boggus, Franken’s opponent, incumbent Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and his campaign made two separate statements on the issue.

During an interview on Radio Iowa on Tuesday morning, Grassley said he would not make Franken’s assault accusations a campaign issue.

Later Tuesday afternoon, Grassley’s campaign — Grassley Works — released a statement from Communications Director Michaela Sundermann calling on Franken to release Strope-Boggus from her nondisclosure agreement that prevents her from making statements against the campaign.

“Victims deserve a chance to be heard, and it’s wrong to pressure them to keep silent. Franken’s alleged victim should have an opportunity to be heard and to defend her good name,” Sundermann said. “Any candidate for office accused of unwanted advances or inappropriate behavior owes voters a clear and honest explanation.”

Sundermann said Franken had not completely responded to the allegations, only giving “blanket denials,” and giving misleading claims that the case was unfounded.

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

The Des Moines police report, which was filed on April 12, was classified as unfounded and no charges were filed. Sundermann said this is simply a legal classification meaning there is not enough evidence to file criminal charges, not that it isn’t true.

Strope-Boggus alleged that in March, Franken forcibly kissed her.

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

Sundermann said if the allegations are false then Strope-Boggus should be able to speak freely about the events.

“Iowans deserve to know the full story, including why he and his lawyers allegedly attempted to silence the victim and her spouse,” Sundermann said.

Franken’s campaign manager Julie Stauch released a statement Wednesday afternoon rebutting Sundermann’s comments. 

“No agreement exists that prevents any employee of our campaign – past or present– from speaking out on this issue. These accusations are false and deceitful insinuations from political opponents,” Stauch said.