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BOLI report addresses GOP caucus leadership

Sen. Knopp was rumored to have lost the chance at Republican leadership because of his support of women who claimed to be harassed by Sen. Kruse.

PARIS ACHEN/OREGON CAPITAL BUREAU - Left to right, Sens. Kathleen Taylor, D-Portland, and Tim Knopp, R-Bend, celebrate passage of their pay equity bill in 2017.The recent bombshell report by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries about sexual harassment at the Capitol resurrected a rumor about how Sen. Jackie Winters came to be Republican leader in 2017.

The election of the Republican caucus leader came amid the scandal accusing Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, of prevalent unwanted touching of women at the Capitol. Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, separated from his party in his support of Sens. Sara Gelser and Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, Democrats who both filed formal complaints against Kruse.

During an interview with BOLI investigators, Gelser said that Knopp was in line to be the next Republican caucus leader but was retaliated against because he called for Kruse's resignation.

"He now has no leadership position because of the stand he took related to this behavior," Gelser said, according to the 52-page report.

In lieu of Knopp, Winters was elected as caucus leader, a position she resigned for the 2019 legislative session to focus on some of her pet projects, such as justice reform.

The report also revealed that Knopp warned Gelser that Senate Republican leaders had discussed with Kruse about whether he should sue Gelser for her claims.