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Direct conflicts of interest rarely came up, but when they did, “there were a couple of times I felt I should recuse myself from voting,” said Krinkie, a Republican.
Krinkie was one of the Legislature’s biggest fiscal conservatives, so the couple’s goals were often at odds:
“She was trying to get money for her clients, and I was looking to reduce government spending, so there weren’t many conflicts.”
Spousal connections in the Legislature are diluted by sheer numbers. A lone representative is not likely to swing a vote that benefits a lobbyist’s wife, Krinkie said.
“One question should be: Is your vote going to be a key determination on the issue?” he said.
There is no accusation that McLaughlin’s votes made a difference in the garbage issue; in fact, the county’s costs have gone down.
“There should be a sense of transparency,” Krinkie said.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher’s husband lobbied for the Minnesota Historical Society while she was in office.
“I took a very similar stance as then-Majority Leader Tim Pawlenty took at the time when First Lady Mary Pawlenty was on the judicial bench,” Kelliher said in an e-mail. “We both excused ourselves from direct issues dealing with what could be seen as a conflict. That became harder when I was speaker but I did my best to separate any issues out.”
Kelliher and Pawlenty went beyond the required disclosure, an indication the rules need to be stronger for all public bodies. Until then, it’s a good idea to disclose and recuse.
Oh, and never negotiate the garbage with your wife.
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