MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Rep. John Thompson’s lawyer says he won’t resign amidst old allegations of domestic abuse. Thompson was not convicted on those charges, which occurred before 2010. But representatives of both parties, including the governor and House speaker, want him gone and have asked him to resign.
House Republicans are promising to file at least two ethics charges against Thompson Monday.
The surfacing of the new allegations of domestic abuse, which Thompson denies, have pushed top Democrats, including Gov. Tim Walz and House Speaker Melissa Hortman, to demand his immediate resignation. Hortman was already investigating allegations that Thompson does not live in his district, and he has a Wisconsin driver’s license.
The ethics complaints will go to the House Ethics Committee, which is made up of two Democrats and two Republicans. They will investigate and could even hear from witnesses. If the committee decides the complaints are justified, they will make a recommendation to the full House. For Thompson to be expelled, two-thirds of House members would have to vote to expel him. Thompson does not have to have broken any laws to be kicked out. The bar is that he can be expelled for “an abuse of the public trust” and for bringing “discredit to the institution of the legislature.”
Law professor David Schultz was a guest on WCCO Sunday morning.
“I would say in a situation like this bringing disrepute, I think the House would probably say that his past record of domestic abuse, the fact that he has disputes over his residency, his [driver’s] license questions, things like that, all would be I think enough to be able to reach a conclusion that he has brought disrepute to the House of Representatives,” Schultz said. “It’s a pretty broad standard.”
Again, Thompson has never been convicted of any domestic abuse charge and he has denied all the allegations. Meanwhile, members of both parties are gong back through records to see when an expulsion vote in the House last happened. Several lawmakers told WCCO they believe such a vote happened in the early 1980s, 40 years ago.
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