Frerichs won’t let employees contribute to his campaigns

Treasurer Michael Frerichs banned his employees this week from contributing to his future campaigns after allegations of political and sexual harassment derailed his predecessor’s run for governor.

Frerichs announced an executive order Thursday that calls for the creation of an Employee Bill of Rights by Jan. 31. That bill of rights will further prohibit Frerichs’ employees from soliciting or coercing their colleagues to volunteer or do political work for Frerichs.

“Actions speak louder than words,” Frerichs said in a statement. “We will work every day to restore people’s faith in government. Transparency, efficiency and accountability must be at the heart of every decision we make.”

Employees who violate the executive order could be warned, suspended or fired, the order said. Frerichs directed his inspector general to investigate alleged breaches.

Former Republican Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s 2014 bid for governor was crippled by allegations in a federal lawsuit of sexual and political harassment from a former staffer. Rutherford forcefully denied those allegations.

A state audit later found Rutherford’s office exercised “inadequate controls” over a controversial summer internship program that cost taxpayers at least $328,000 in just two of the four years it operated. Rutherford’s office insisted clout played no role in arranging internships.

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