Updated: 9:30 p.m. | Posted: 5:23 p.m.
Nearly three months after allegations of sexual misconduct forced the resignation of Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, House leaders Thursday released a "summary of key takeaways" from a $30,000 investigation of the complaints suggesting the sexual harassment review process in the Minnesota House needs fixing.
Among its findings:
• Some elected representatives don't appreciate or choose to disregard the power imbalance between them and staff, lobbyists and others who work in and around the Capitol.
• No Legislature-wide policy or formal agreements on sexual harassment exist. Instead, the House, Senate and the Legislative Coordinating Commission each have separate policies.
• When witnesses or potential interviewees in investigations are lobbyists, non-legislative state employees, or other third parties, the House has no power to compel them to take part in an investigation.
• The House has not sufficiently publicized policies for third parties, including members of the public and lobbyists to make reports of discrimination or harassment.
• A perception that House members will not be disciplined for violations of the House Policy may chill reports regarding members.
The investigation by the firm NeuVest began after House leaders received two complaints against Cornish last November.
Cornish did not cooperate with the investigation. He resigned Nov. 30.
• Dec. 5: On harassment claims and settlements, Legislature keeps it quiet
• Nov. 9: MN lawmaker says sexual harassment is pervasive at Capitol
The summary was released in the form of a memo to House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Zimmerman, from Cristina Para and Ben Weeks, attorneys with the nonpartisan House Research Department, who acted as point persons for the House during the investigation.
Citing a concern for privacy, House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, said the full investigation would not be made public.
"It was important that we have as few eyes to see it as possible because some of the people involved did not want their names released to the public, and so we are respecting that," she said. "And it is not necessary that that information comes out because we don't want that information to chill future people from coming forward with any concerns or complaints that they have."
State Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn, DFL-Roseville, is among a group of House members pushing for tougher sanctions for sexual harassment. They have specific recommendations.
"The recommendation that complaints should be investigated by a neutral third party and not handled by whichever party is in power in the House or Senate is really critical," Becker-Finn said.
Correction (March 8): An earlier version of this story had an incorrect date for Tony Cornish's resignation.