Senate DFLers are seeking an ethics investigation on Republican Sen. Scott Newman of Hutchinson whose legislative assistant sent an email to the Minnesota Nurses Association stating that he would not meet with groups who backed his opponent, Hal Kimball. The DFLers claim that Newman violated Senate Rule 56.3, which prohibits senators from limiting access only to those who have made political contributions.
“Requesting an ethics hearing is a very serious matter, and we spent considerable time reviewing the facts and public comments made by Sen. Newman,” said Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul. “We still have many questions regarding this incident, and we hope that a complete and full investigation by the Senate ethics subcommittee will provide Minnesotans with some much-needed answers.”
One such question, posed by Bluestem Prairie, the blog that broke the story earlier this week: How did Newman’s legislative aide know that the Minnesota Nurses Association backed Newman’s opponent?
It’s one that was echoed by the West Central Tribune on Thursday. “The remaining issue is where Newman’s staffer got the idea to write this e-mail in the first place and what discipline the staffer received,” the paper’s editorial board wrote.
Pappas and the DFL sent a letter to Senate President Michelle Fischbach on Thursday requesting an investigation.
“Should the citizens of our state see their elected officials segregating their interests due to their political affiliation, the integrity of both individual members and the reputation of the Senate is damaged,” the letter stated.
Here’s the letter: