Embattled senator gets committee assignments on eve of session

DES MOINES — Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen late Sunday announced she had assigned fellow Democrat Nate Boulton to serve on senate committees, but not the ones he requested.

Boulton ended his campaign for governor last May after three women accused Boulton of touching them without their consent. In December, the Senate Ethics Committee dismissed a complaint from one of the women, ruling the panel had no jurisdiction over Boulton’s actions BEFORE he was elected to the legislature. Petersen cites that ruling in explaining her decision to name Boulton to two committees.

“They decided that he could remain in the senate through the ruling,” Petersen said Monday on Iowa Public Radio. “And my expectation is that he will uphold the duties of the office while he remains in the senate.”

Iowa Republican Party chairman said in a tweet that it’s hypocritical for Democrats to allow Boulton to keep his senate seat, after they railed against Republicans over a former Senate GOP employee’s successful sexual harassment lawsuit. Petersen, who has called on Boulton to resign, said she wants to work with Republicans on new ethics guidelines addressing the behavior of senators outside of the capitol.