Weather Forecast


Sen. Hoffman faces ethics charge over Tweet message

A freshman senator faces an ethics charge over a Tweet she sent saying a fellow lawmaker called mentally ill people idiots and imbeciles.

The Tweet got Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, in hot water.

Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, however, said she was talking about what institutions for the mentally ill used to be called.

The ethics complaint, filed by Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, alleges that Hoffman "misled the public by writing and publishing a statement which falsely describes Goodwin as personally using derogatory labels for those with mental illnesses." Rest said that violates Senate ethics rules.

"On Wednesday, May 18, Sen. Barb Goodwin referred to people with mental illnesses as idiots and imbeciles in the Minnesota State Senate floor," Hoffman said in a statement. "As a registered nurse who has worked with patients with mental illnesses for many years, I was offended by her remarks.

"I shared Senator Goodwin's remarks with my Twitter followers. Until the Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct completes their work, I have no further comment."

But her attorney did make a statement, asking for an ethics hearing before lawmakers adjourned Monday night.

Attorney Frederic Knaak sent a letter to Senate Ethics Chairwoman Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, last Saturday saying the quick review is needed to be fair to Hoffman.

Knaak argued against any delay in the Senate Ethics Committee hearing the Hoffman case. He said a delay would allow "these purported allegations to linger before she can clear herself through the committee."