MN GOP Chair Resigns Amid Sex Trafficking Scandal

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports:

Minnesota Republican leaders forced Jennifer Carnahan out as head of the state party on Thursday, turning a page on a scandal that threatened to consume GOP politics ahead of a pivotal election year.

Carnahan leaves as chair of the party amid allegations that she created a toxic workplace environment, one that blurred personal and professional lines, ignored concerns about sexual harassment and retaliated against employees who didn’t fall in line.

The party’s 15-member executive board voted 8-7 to give Carnahan a severance of three months salary, roughly $38,000, to leave her role. Carnahan, who attended the meeting virtually, was the deciding vote to give herself severance on the way out.

Axios reports:

Carnahan’s close relationship with Anton Lazzaro, a young GOP donor arrested on federal sex trafficking charges last week, sparked fresh scrutiny into her tumultuous tenure as leader.

The Lazzaro scandal triggered a deluge of public accusations from former staff and activists who said she fostered a toxic work environment and failed to address sexual harassment allegations that emerged over the last year.

Carnahan, who is married to Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing. In a statement issued Thursday, she said she is “confident a full investigation will uncover the facts and prove my innocence.”