Ethics panel recommends House Ethics Committee subpoena Rep. Hagedorn, others

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 6:30 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2021 at 7:09 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - An ethics panel is recommending that the House Ethics Committee subpoena Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn (MN-01) and four other entities.

The recommendation follows a report from the Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics that reviewed allegations that Hagedorn allowed official funds to be directed to companies owned by two of his employees.

The Board report finds Rep. Hagedorn may have used official funds to contract for services with companies owned or controlled by staff members John Sample and Peter Su.

The Office of Congressional Ethics found evidence that Sample, a part-time digital media staffer in Hagedorn’s office, owned one of the companies Hagedorn’s office used for franked mail and printing services, and that he overcharged for those services.

The findings also allege that Sample concealed his ownership interest in the company when decisions were being made.

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 a statement to KEYC News Now in October, Hagedorn’s attorney, Elliot Berkie, said 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.

On Oct. 21, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating it would continue to gather information necessary to complete its review.

Su is no longer an employee of the House of Representatives, but Sample is still a part-time employee.

The Board recommends that the Committee on Ethics issues subpoenas to Sample, Hagedorn and Su, among others.

The Board’s statement does stress that their findings do not mean they’ve determined that a violation occurred.

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