Senate investigating allegations against Sen. Kevin Ranker

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The state Senate is conducting an outside investigation into Democratic Sen. Kevin Ranker following allegations of improper conduct. It’s the first test of the chamber’s new workplace policies that were adopted in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Through a public records request, The Associated Press obtained a contract between the Senate and Tara Parker, an investigator with a Seattle law firm, who was hired in October.

Ann Larson, who was Ranker’s legislative assistant for a year nearly a decade ago, said the investigation is related to sexual harassment and hostile workplace issues involving her.

Ranker said he is cooperating with the investigation and believed he will be exonerated.

Under the new policy, a report will be released publicly if there is a finding of a violation of prohibited conduct.