DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin on Wednesday called on his Republican counterpart Keith Downey and GOP House Speaker Kurt Daudt to ask two GOP legislators cited last month by a park ranger to apologize for accusing him of lying.
Martin and other DFL critics have lambasted the two House legislators for accusing a Dakota County Sheriff park ranger of lying when he issued them nuisance violations late last month for "making out" in an Eagan park.
Reps. Tara Mack of Apple Valley and Rep. Tim Kelly of Red Wing initially planned to fight the citations, arguing that the officer lied about the incident. Days later they each paid the $260 fine.
In separate statements Monday, Mack and Kelly issued general apologies to the law enforcement community, but did not specifically mention the park ranger. Daudt on Monday also announced in a short statement that Mack and Kelly would resign from their seats on the House Ethics Committee. In the statement he said he and Majority Leader Joyce Peppin of Rogers had "expressed our concerns" regarding the "incident and subsequent attention."
Martin said in a statement that "when situations like this arise, it is the role of elected party leaders to make it clear to the people of Minnesota that they do not condone this sort of behavior. Yet three weeks after the incident between Kelly and Mack occurred, and despite very serious allegations having been made against a law enforcement official who was just doing his job, we have heard absolutely nothing from Downey or Daudt.
Martin said he is calling on Downey and Daudt to pressure the two House legislators for a direct apology to the park ranger. He added: "Total silence on behalf of Republican party leaders only makes it worse."
Downey did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and a spokeswoman for Daudt said his Monday statement stands.