Senate Republicans said Friday they are renewing an ethics complaint against Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, and leveling new charges that he lied to the Senate Subcommittee on Ethics about the nature of his ties to the beleaguered Community Action of Minneapolis.
Last fall, the ethics panel indefinitely postponed action on GOP complaints against Hayden and Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, another Minneapolis DFLer. The initial complaint claimed that Hayden, the Senate's deputy DFL leader, misused federal money as a board member of Community Action of Minneapolis.
Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said Friday that ensuing media reports and additional information turned up by state investigators provide more proof for allegations against Hayden. Hann said DFL members of the ethics panel insisted last November that there was insufficient proof against Hayden before postponing action on the complaint.
"There should be an investigation," Hann said. "There should be public hearings. We should issue subpoenas."
Hayden did not grant interviews, but he released a statement calling Hann's actions "politically motivated and unsubstantiated." He noted that investigations into the matter are continuing and expressed confidence they would show that Hayden and his wife, who has also been implicated, did nothing wrong.
The FBI and IRS are now looking into allegations of misspending at Community Action of Minneapolis; Hayden had appointed his wife, Terri Hayden, to serve as his proxy on the group's board of directors, and receipts obtained by the Star Tribune showed the two had traveled to New York at the organization's expense.
"While I am disappointed that Senator Hann decided to continue his unfounded personal attacks, I will not allow it to distract me from my duty to represent my constituents and to help build a better and stronger Minnesota," Hayden said.
By filing the new complaint, Senate Republicans are forcing at least one more meeting of the Subcommittee on Ethics. It must reconvene within 30 days to discuss whether further action on the matter is appropriate.