An Iowa Senate aide was fired last week for sexual harassment. Jake Dagel, a legislative clerk for Republican Senator Waylon Brown of St. Ansgar, recently completed the new, mandatory course on sexual harassment for the Iowa legislature, the Des Moines Register noted.
Iowa Starting Line broke the news of Dagel’s firing. The political news site made national headlines last month, when it published a video of Bill Dix, then the majority leader of the state Senate, kissing a lobbyist in a Des Moines bar. The married Dix, who campaigned as a champion of family values, resigned the same day the video was published.
The training session on sexual harassment Dagel attended was part of the reforms Dix eventually approved — after a series of flips and flops on the issue — to address the problem of sexual harassment in the chamber. In 2017, a former employee of the Republican Senate caucus who sued, alleging the caucus maintained a hostile workplace environment that included sexual harassment, was awarded $2.2 million in damages by a jury.
The 25-year-old Dagel has been very active in conservative politics, and served as the senior field director of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign in Iowa. As a student at Iowa State University, Dagel was a member of Turning Point USA, a national organization founded in 2012 that describes its mission as to “identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited government.” In 2015, Dagel’s produced a video for Turning Point USA, in which he tricked fellow students into signing a petition to end the right of women to vote. Dagel relied on students confusing the “end of women’s suffrage” with the “end of women’s suffering” to get them to sign the petition while on camera.
In a statement to the Register on Monday, Secretary of the Senate Charles Smithson said:
On April 3, 2018, a credible complaint of sexual harassment was made. Upon acknowledging the conduct in question, Mr. Dagel was immediately terminated under the Senate’s strict policy prohibiting harassment in the workplace. All other issues related to this matter are a confidential personnel matter.
The Register reports it reached the former Senate aide by phone on Monday, but “Dagel quickly hung up the phone,” without responding to questions.