Minn. lawmakers accused of ‘making out’ resign Ethics Committee posts
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota state Reps. Tim Kelly and Tara Mack relinquished their positions on the House Ethics Committee on Monday and issued apologies in the latest developments for the embattled lawmakers who an officer says he caught "making out" ...
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota state Reps. Tim Kelly and Tara Mack relinquished their positions on the House Ethics Committee on Monday and issued apologies in the latest developments for the embattled lawmakers who an officer says he caught “making out” in a car in a Twin Cities park.
Kelly of Red Wing held a Republican seat on the committee; Mack of Apple Valley was a Republican alternate.
“Representatives Kelly and Mack have voluntarily agreed to step down from the Ethics Committee, and I have appointed Representative Paul Torkelson and Representative Jenifer Loon to take their places,” Speaker Kurt Daudt said in a statement.
He also said he and House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin met with Kelly and Mack over the weekend “to discuss the incident and the subsequent attention from their public comments.”
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The lawmakers originally said they were innocent after being ticketed in August and claimed the parks officer included false information in his reports. They maintained their innocence, but paid each paid a $260 fine under a nuisance law, saying it would be best for their families.
“After serious reflection on the last two weeks, I can say that I am disappointed in myself for the way I handled my disagreement with a park ranger,” Kelly said in a statement Monday. “I reacted to this in an emotional way and certainly without respect and professionalism. Several of my own family members serve in law enforcement and I have nothing but respect for the entire community. There is a proper way to handle conflicts and as a state representative you should certainly expect me to do so. I apologize to my constituents, to the law enforcement community and to the state of Minnesota.”
Mack released this statement Monday:
"Since becoming a State Representative in 2009, I have been a strong supporter of our men and women in law enforcement. I understand that the Park Ranger was trying to do his job. I have the utmost respect for the work law enforcement does to keep Minnesotans safe and I apologize for offending these great men and women."
The two lawmakers were in Kelly's brown Chrysler 300, Park Ranger Jordan Moses indicated. "When I was roughly 20 yards away, I noticed both parties were leaned in toward the center of the car engaged in intimate behavior," Moses wrote.
The report said Mack’s pants were pulled down to mid-thigh and her underwear was visible.
Rep. Dan Schoen of St. Paul Park wrote to Daudt, R-Crown, Friday, saying more was needed than just paying fines.
"I find it very disappointing that Rep. Mack and Rep. Kelly would try to harm the credibility of this law enforcement official simply to rescue their own," Schoen wrote.
On Friday, Kelly said he stood by statements that he disagrees with details of the report, although he would not give specifics.
“We simply have a disagreement,” Kelly said. “It doesn’t warrant an apology.”