Minn. Senator’s Tweet Sparks Ethics Complaint

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) –– A Minnesota senator faces an ethics complaint for a remark she posted on Twitter about a colleague.

Republican Sen. Gretchen Hoffman of Vergas posted the comment during a Senate debate Wednesday night as Democratic Sen. Barb Goodwin of Columbia Heights was talking about funding for mental health programs. Goodwin mentioned several now-discredited terms for mentally ill individuals.

Hoffman repeated Goodwin’s remarks on the social networking site in a way that suggested Goodwin had used the terms directly. A few minutes later, Goodwin rose again to angrily denounce Hoffman’s tweet and accused her of ignoring the original context. Hoffman refused to apologize.

On Friday, Democratic Sen. Ann Rest filed an ethics complaint saying Hoffman knowingly published a false statement about Goodwin. Hoffman says she’s still offended by Goodwin’s remarks but would not comment further until the Senate Ethics Committee reviews the complaint.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Conservative

    I’m a conservative, NOT a republican. They are embarrasing this state and need to go.

  • Pork Chop Fan

    What exactly did Goodwin say?

  • Jimmy Hoffa

    Seriously, what kinds of whimps have we become. This is pathetic….. You can’t say anything anymore without “offending” anyone… I am disgusted with this and want my freedom of speech and be able to say what I want. I don’t care if people get offended. Being offended is not a right. Look at the Constitution, just isn’t in there…..Get some thicker skin and act like an adult, not a 2 year old.

    • Bubba

      You can say what ever you damn well please. If you say something that is not true about someone else then there are laws about it. Perhaps rather than thicker skin people like you need to use their brain, whatever little bit there might be that is functional

  • BKinMN


  • old nurse

    While Senator Goodwin used the terms idiots and imbeciles in her remarks I cannot find the context of the speech. While Senator Hoffman may be a nurse and take offense to those terms being used she still needed to listen to the context. There are rules to be followed. Senator Hoffman as a nurse should know that rules are to be followed. Also as a nurse who claimed to have worked with the mentally ill, shame on you for not supporting the care of those in need. Senator Hoffman you discredit the profession. In case anyone wants a little more on the story.

  • Doc

    Apparently, Republicans are heartless in every level of government. But, boy, those rich guys and corporations have nothing to worry about!

  • Jake

    I just checked out the Star Tribune story, and it has Senator Rest’s letter with the Senator Goodwin quotes. Here’s the crazy part. Not knowing when Senator Hoffman started listening, she may have heard the slur in a context that makes her tweet accurate. Senator Rest reports the quote as “we may not have the ten state ‘Hospitals for the Idiots, and the Insane and the Imbeciles’ like we used to, but that’s because al lot of people . . . ”

    Here’s the problem. Unless Sen Goodwin used air quotations to ensure she was quoting an old title, she said “”we may not have the ten state hospitals for the idiots and the insane and the imbeiles like we used to.” That would appear to be a direct use of the terms, and Senator Rest added the quotations to show how she believes the phrase was used (and she is right that that was the context. if one examines the whole statement). But the context is subjective based on what the listener heard, not what is reported (and punctuated) afterward.

    I completely agree that tweeting during session lacks class and serves little to no purpose. Both sides do it, and they should stop.

  • Jake

    Also, the ethics complaint is based on a misrepresentation of a policy position. Senator Hoffman did not assert that Senator Goodwin opposes funding when she actually supports it. If her failing to report the context of Senator Goodwin’s remarks were intentional, it is disappointiing and below the standard we should expect. If it was in error, it speaks poorly of her capacity to either listen or comprehend. In neither case does it support an ethics claim, at least under the cited provision.

    It all feels like a lot of political theater. But hey, it’s that season, right?

  • Michele

    I agree with Jake about tweeting during session. Most folk can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, much pay attention to the goings-on around them and tweet.

    Also, this reminds me of being in high school and passing mean notes around in class. Kind of embarrassing.

  • travis

    no more electronics on the house or senate floor. Its gross… its cheap… kids can;t do it in school because they are supposed to be listening to their teachers. If you have been elected, your job is to listen to your colleagues.

  • Dave Seavy

    There shouldn’t be any doubt as to why nothing is getting done and why a special session is on the horizon. This is just another example of the time and money wasted as the politicians play their silly little games. I’ve seen more maturity in grade-school kids than what I see in the politicians. If all this wasn’t being paid for with our tax money, it would be comical. As it is, the unfortunate fact is that these clowns manage to keep getting re-elected.

  • JT

    So now we know EXACTLY where our tax dollars are going. We are funding these politicians to sit around and play with their cell phones and such. No wonder there isn’t any money for things like paying PCA wages for disabled kids or making sure schools have adequate teachers and aides.

    You are at work…hang up and pay attention!

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