Capitol Notebook: Hoffman Faces Ethics Complaint Over Tweet

A freshman senator faces an ethics charge over a Tweet she sent saying a fellow lawmaker called mentally ill people idiots and imbeciles.

The Wednesday Tweet got Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, in hot water.

Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, however, said she was talking about what institutions for the mentally ill used to be called.

The Ethics complaint, filed Friday by Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, alleges that Hoffman “misled the public by writing and publishing a statement which falsely describes Senator Goodwin as personally using derogatory labels for those with mental illnesses.” Rest said that violates Senate ethics rules.

“On Wednesday, May 18, Sen. Barb Goodwin referred to people with mental illnesses as idiots and imbeciles in the Minnesota State Senate floor,” Hoffman said in a statement. “As a registered nurse who has worked with patients with mental illnesses for many years, I was offended by her remarks.

“I shared Senator Goodwin’s remarks with my Twitter followers. Until the Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct completes their work, I have no further comment.”

 Cheese burger success

Rep. Dean Urdahl won his cheeseburger bill vote in the House Friday, with a 76-56 tally, restricting lawsuits by people blaming food and drink for getting fat.

The Grove City Republican has sponsored the bill for years, but never got it signed into law.

 GOP attacks

Republicans are attacking the Capitol press corps for presenting a biased view of the on-going budget battle.

“The media will most likely incorrectly report that the GOP has been unwilling to compromise with the governor’s budgetary requests,” Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, wrote in his weekly newsletter. “However, the Legislature has already compromised with the governor in formulating its $34 billion budget from the beginning and not starting low only to negotiate upwards.”

In what he called a “personal note to the Capitol press corps,” GOP Chairman Tony Sutton agreed with Newman’s assessment.

“The media bias I see, which is a common perception, is the belief that compromise is ALWAYS a good thing, that the best solution is ALWAYS somewhere in the middle and that compromise is ALWAYS a win for the people of Minnesota,” Sutton said. “That is far from ALWAYS the case.”

“I think the media is missing out on a more thoughtful and more interesting perspective of more service to readers and viewers: Does compromise necessarily yield a better solution?” Sutton said.