Draft opinion: Sen. Tomassoni's new job not a conflict
J. Patrick Coolican
January 27, 2015 — 5:01pm
A draft opinion from a key state board finds no conflict of interest on the part of Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, who recently took a job with a group that lobbies the Legislature.
The draft opinion of the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board can be seen here. (Beginning page 61.)
Republicans had accused Tomassoni of a conflict of interest after taking a job with the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools, an Iron Range group that lobbies the Legislature for state funds. Tomassoni has said he won't begin as executive director until after this legislative session, will take a leave-of-absence during future legislative sessions, and will not lobby his colleagues on RAMS issues.
A letter from the board summarizing the opinion reads, in part: "A conflict of interest occurs from a specific decision or action that meets certain criteria. A conflict of interest is not created by a legislator’s employment or occupation. As drafted this opinion is consistent with prior advisory opinions issued to members of the Legislature on this subject."
A Duluth native who just barely lost Virginia's GOP gubernatorial primary said that politicians have not gone far enough in condemning the left for violence during a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville. "I think that the left is going to try to use this as an excuse to crack down on conservative free speech," said Corey Stewart. "I think they're going to try to use this as an excuse to remove more historical monuments."