Multiple Republican leaders within the state House are calling on the party’s executive committee to investigate allegations surrounding Minnesota GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan.
The letter, dated on Wednesday, is signed off on by 11 state representatives, including House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, Deputy Minority Leader Anne Neu Brindley and Minority Whip Barb Haley.
In it, they call on the Republican Party of Minnesota’s State Executive Committee to launch an “immediate, comprehensive investigation” into claims of sexual assault and harassment that allegedly occurred under Carnahan’s leadership.
What's more, they say that if any party leader did not meet their "legal or moral responsibilities to the victims coming forward, they should resign or be held accountable by the State Executive Committee."
The committee is meeting on Thursday evening as pressure mounts against Carnahan, though the House letter suggests any action against her should wait until the outcome of the investigation.
“We are writing to implore you to take action immediately to investigate these claims, and establish a clear process for victims to come forward,” the letter reads. “Not only do state and federal employment laws demand this level of responsiveness, but it is critical to ensuring a professional work environment for the future of the MNGOP as an organization.”
The letter also calls for the response to the allegations to include “developing or strengthening current harassment training.”
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka also shared a short statement about Thursday's meeting, tweeting: "The Anton Lazzaro indictment and subsequent personnel issues raised by past #mngop Executive Directors require immediate attention and decisive action by the #mngop Executive Committee.
"I have spoken to Chairwoman Carnahan, and individuals who support her removal, and have been assured a resolution to this conflict will be reached at tonight’s 6:30 p.m. meeting."
Controversies surrounding Carnahan started when GOP donor Anton Lazzaro was arrested and charged on multiple federal counts of child sex trafficking last week.
Carnahan’s relationship with Lazzaro came under scrutiny following the charges. The two worked on a podcast together, and Lazzaro reportedly was part of the team to help get Carnahan elected party chair in 2017.
Carnahan maintains she had no knowledge of Lazzaro’s child sex trafficking allegations, but the news prompted multiple individuals to come forward with stories of sexual assault and harassment within the Minnesota GOP. They include chair of Minnesota College Republicans Nia Moore and former MCR chair Karly Hahn.
Minnesota College Republicans also released a statement calling for Carnahan’s resignation, claiming she was aware of instances of sexual assault and harassment but “failed to take action.”
On Wednesday, the four most recent executive directors for the MN GOP under Carnahan issued a joint statement slamming the "toxic" environment under her leadership, saying she rules by "grudges, retaliation, and intimidation."
Carnahan denied claims that she knew of and ignored these issues on WCCO. She argued claims came from people with problems with her personally and that those calling for her resignation are attempting to re-litigate the race for party chair.
Among those calling for her resignation include four former party executive directors who served under her.