House Ethics Committee to review allegations against Rep. Jim Hagedorn
WASHINGTON (KEYC) — A recently released report reveals new details regarding alleged misconduct by Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn (MN-01) following a report from the Office of Congressional Ethics.
The OCE began its review of the allegations against Hagedorn in March.
After completing the report in July, the board voted 6-0 to refer the matter to the House committee.
The nonpartisan OCE alleges that Hagedorn “may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law” on two counts.
In a statement to KEYC News Now, Hagedorn’s attorney, Elliot Berkie, says the congressman representing Minnesota’s First District “self-reported the matter to the Ethics Committee and will continue to work with [the Ethics Committee] to bring it to a conclusion. Moreover, he had no knowledge of the underlying issues”
Despite this statement, the OCE report claims that Hagedorn refused to cooperate.
Documents say the OCE found evidence of two employees in Hagedorn’s office having a vested financial interest in companies that were paid what the office calls “significant amounts.”
One of those employees was former Chief of Staff Peter Su, the brother of one of the company’s owners.
In total, the alleged improper payments totaled $453,686 toward printing and mailing services in the first quarter of 2020, which amounts to 19% of Hagedorn’s annual budget as a representative.
The average member of Congress used 0.8% of their annual budget on similar mailings.
In an article published in June 2020 by congressional spending tracker site Legistorm, Hagedorn reportedly outspent congressional colleagues by more than double.
Hagedorn’s office conducted an internal review 10 days after the figures surfaced in the article, which resulted in Su being fired.
The OCE also claims a campaign donor provided office space at the Brett’s Building in downtown Mankato at no cost, or below fair market value, which is a Federal Elections Commission violation if not reported as such.
According to the report, Hagedorn’s office claims that the space in question was only a mailing address and not a physical space, so it didn’t require a report of an in-kind donation.
The board disputed that claim with tweeted photos of campaign events at the address in question.
Berkie responded to the allegations of Hagedorn’s rent-free office by saying that “leftist groups targeted Congressman Hagedorn by filing frivolous complaints with the FEC. We stand ready to answer any questions the FEC or the Ethics Committee might have to refute this baseless allegation.”
The House Ethics Committee says it will now review the allegations against Hagedorn.
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