Senate Ethics Committee schedules hearing on Hoffman complaint

The Senate Ethics Committee has scheduled a Monday morning hearing to discuss DFL Sen. Ann Rest’s complaint against GOP Sen. Gretchen Hoffman.

Rest filed the complaint in the final days of the 2011 legislative session. She said Hoffman mischaracterized DFL Sen. Barb Goodwin’s comments during a Senate debate on her Twitter feed.

“Sen Goodwin just called people with mental illness- idiots and imbeciles- while debating HHS bill #offensive #mndfl #mnsrc #mnleg”

Hoffman’s tweet was redistributed when Senate Republican Caucus spokesman Michael Brodkorb retweeted it so his 2,500 followers could read it.

Both Goodwin and Rest said Hoffman misrepresented Goodwin’s remarks. Goodwin said she was talking about the history of developmental disabilities and mental illness in Minnesota during a debate over the Health and Human Services budget bill. Hoffman refused to apologize and said she was “offended” by Goodwin’s remarks.

The four member Ethics Committee will decide whether Hoffman published material that she knew was false and whether Hoffman violated a rule that says members of the Senate should adhere to the highest standard of ethical conduct.

GOP Sen. Michelle Fischbach, GOP Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, DFL Sen. John Harrington and DFL Sen. Kathy Sheran are the members of the Senate Ethics Committee and will determine whether Hoffman violated Senate rules.

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