MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota House Ethics Committee on Friday dismissed an ethics complaint against DFL Representative John Thompson, after he agreed to publicly apologize on the House floor next session for calling a Republican colleague a “racist” last month.
The complaint—which is a rare, but serious occurrence in the legislature—at issue is unrelated the controversies swirling the first-term lawmaker, who faces reports of domestic violence against him and questions about his residency after he showed a Wisconsin driver’s licenses to an officer during a July 4 traffic stop.READ MORE: House Ethics Committee Postpones Hearing On Complaint Against Rep. John Thompson
Rep. Eric Lucero (R-Dayton) filed an ethics complaint against Thompson on June 29 following an intense debate on the House floor last month in which the first-term DFL lawmaker called Lucero “racist.” The Republican said Thompson’s comments were “destructive” and undermined the integrity of the House.
The committee resumed the ethics hearing Friday after it was delayed last week at the request of Thompson, who sought to have a lawyer present. Lucero, Thompson and the chair of the committee agreed to the deal for the apology before the meeting.
“Representative Thompson, apologizing isn’t always easy but you’ve done that and I thank you for that,” said Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-Minneapolis), who is chair of the ethics committee.
He also thanked Lucero for accepting the apology: “There are times when we feel that we have been confronted in some way and accepting an apology isn’t always easy but you’ve done that.”
Separately, police reports detailing alleged abuse sparked calls for Thompson’s resignation from Republicans and top DFL leaders, including Gov. Tim Walz.READ MORE: Speaker Hortman Says She’ll Send Any Complaints Against Rep. John Thompson To Ethics Committee
Thompson strongly denies all reports, which span from 2003 to 2010. He was never convicted of any assault charges and remains firm that he will continue to serve at the capitol as long as he is duly elected to be there.
“I will not remain silent and I will not be resigning,” he said during a news conference Monday flanked by supporters and his wife, who said allegations that Thompson was abusive are untrue.
A spokesman for the House GOP said it still “strongly believe” the DFL should discipline Thompson. Republicans other ethics complaints drafted, but it is unclear if and when they would formally file them.
House Speaker Melissa Hortman’s office said at most, she could remove Thompson from House committees, but she said she is not going to take any action until outstanding court proceedings related to the July 4 traffic stop are resolved.
“I believe it’s in the best interest of John Thompson, his family and the institution for him to resign,” Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) said in a statement.
A review of court documents shows that as of Friday, Thompson has an unpaid fine related to that ticket, meaning the case is still open.