ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The University of Minnesota Board of Regents plans to review whether Regent Steve Sviggum’s new job with the Senate Republican caucus poses a conflict of interest.

Regents Chair Linda Cohen announced the review Tuesday, the day Sviggum started his new job.

In a statement, Cohen says the board will “carefully review the situation” under its ethics code and determine what steps are necessary “to take in the best interest of the board and the university.”

Sviggum is a former Minnesota House speaker from Kenyon. The Senate Republican caucus named him as its executive assistant and communications director.

Sviggum did not immediately return a phone call to his home Tuesday night. But he earlier told Minnesota Public Radio News there was no conflict under the university’s conflict-of-interest policy.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (15)
  1. Great advisors says:

    So he must be the only employed person (republican) as a MN regent. What do the rest of the Regents do? What liberal causes do the support, besides overpaid professors and boon-doggle research $$$ and program. Higher Ed in MN is the biggest joke in the state.

    1. usuk says:

      what a dill hole.

  2. northstar64 says:

    @Great advisors – All the regents are either employed elsewhere (Mayo Clinic, Park Midway Bank, MN Power) or retired from the likes of Cargill and TCF. Actually Sviggum was working at the university when he was first appointed (guess he was one of those overpaid professors at the Humphrey Institute).

    PS. Hope you don’t need that diabetes research they have going on there.

    1. Balanced Beam says:

      @Northstar64 – The Board of Regents has always had an unofficial “Labor Seat” when the DFL has controlled the Legislature. That has been held by people like David Roe and Bill Peterson (and others who worked for AFSCME and the AFL-CIO). They have been paid directly by the unions that then get their member’s wages decided by the Board they sit on. Let’s see if the Regents or WCCO or a local newspaper ever looks into that and raise the question of whether that should be allowed.

      1. northstar64 says:

        True. So the door swings both ways depending who runs the legislature

        This march the republican controlled legislature added Sviggum, Laura Broad (both republican legislators) and the David McMillan former head of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce (which tilts right). That was in addition to Dean Johnson (formerly R – Willmar) in a previous year. With those choices they also did not renew Steven Hunter, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO labor union.

        Guess one more example of what happens when you put a legislature in charge of a process like chosing regents.

        1. Balanced Beam says:

          The DFL put Johnson on the Board as he was a DFLer at the time. It’s always been partisan, but Regent selection is just as partisan when governors appoint and even in states like Nebraska where they are popularly elected.

  3. Chuck says:

    well, it seems like he always wants to work the edges.

  4. Sean Kelly says:

    Huh? A state representative from an extremely rural county and he qualifies as a Regent on the Board of Trustees for the University of Minnesota? I have a PhD and have taught at two major universities, but I don’t qualify? The better question is, not whether there is a conflict of interest, but is this guy QUALIFIED AT ALL to be making decisions about the governance of one of the largest land-grant universities in the US?

    1. Balanced Beam says:

      Yes, Sean Kelly. You have been separated from society long enough to earn a PhD and teach at two major Universities. You are clearly much smarter than the rest of us, which explains why you are writing such an inane post. Perhaps you and the other academic elite can help the rest of us live our lives properly. Then you can gather up all of our children and decide how resources should be directed toward each of their educations to maximize the betterment of society. Sadly, my kids will likely be worker bees in your Utopia. I will love them just the same in my quaint, non-PhD way.

      Or . . . we can have the people of Minnesota elect those who they believe best represent them select the people who are in touch with what the State needs from its University. In short, I am very, very happy you have not been elected to the Regents.

      1. Citizen says:

        @Balanced. In the “spirit” of your denigrating comment to Sean Kelly, I will opine that your kids will be worker bees because they will be part of the bigoted conservative rabble that votes against their own best interests and supports the ultra right agenda of religious persecution over the secular part of America. That ultra right does not value education unless it is creationism, subjugation of women and minorities, and certainly does not believe in caring for the most vulnerable of society. Why, under a conservative rule in America, we wouldn’t even need universities or schools, we could just get all the answers to society’s and medical needs from religious texts and churches.

        1. Balanced Beam says:

          @Citizen. I am always entertained by your ever-so-slightly-but-still-only-partially–informed thoughts. The first Universities in Europe and later in the U.S. were not formed by governments, but private interests, including churches. t was not until faculty were organized for the purpose of political muscle did higher education become unattainable to those with low means, which now means middle-class kids because aid is available to low income students and the wealthy have means.

          You confuse conservatism with partisanship. I’m not really surprised. It suits your needs to do so, and again, you are not nearly as bright as you have lead yourself to think. A conservative does not necessarily believe in Creationism. Nor does a conservative necessarily not care about the poor. Rather, the conservative does not believe it is proper or beneficial for the coercive power of government to be unrestrained.

          Virtually every atrocity committed on a grand scale is committed using the coercive power of government unrestrained. The Third Reich loved education, just like the Left today, as long is it was their type of education, just like the Left today. Unrestrained government is fantastic when it is controlled by people with whom you agree. When you don’t agree with them, it doesn’t end well. Government within its proper limits is beautiful, promotes pursuit of improvement by all who are able, and does not discriminate based on philosophy. Take your time with this one.

    2. Abraham Lincoln says:

      I am from “an extremely rural county.”

  5. marty says:

    With all the people out of work can’t we find a young qualified republican for this position? How much pension$$$$ is he qualified for now???? Any farm subsidies for Sviggum farms?

  6. G Dog says:

    Being a paid operative for either the Republicans or the Democrats AND being a Regent at the “U” seems a bad mix. While the other Regents might be business people or whatever, Sviggum’s main job would be to push a particular political agenda.

    Not good.

  7. kevinsux says:

    Swigg up is a typical public trough slurping republican d bag.

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