State Rep. Denny McNamara said Tuesday that he is leveling an ethics complaint against a Minneapolis park lobbyist after a House panel declined to proceed with an ethics complaint against him over the same incident.
The Hastings Republican said he was filing the complaint against Maryann Campo, one of several State Capitol lobbyists on contract for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
His announcement came after a House ethics committee dismissed a complaint brought against him earlier in June by state Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis. The panel voted 2-1 against investigating Kahn's charge that his behavior violated House rules.
Kahn had alleged that McNamara shouted accusations at her in the closing days of the legislative session, saying Minneapolis park officials were ordering fewer tree supplies from his son's business as political payback for his desire to redirect funding from a north Minneapolis park.
McNamara called Kahn's complaint frivolous. "Throughout this process I have sought to highlight that votes cast by members of the Legislature, whether Republican or Democrat, should never be held against their family members," he said. "As I made very clear, my integrity is not for sale and I'm glad today that my name has been cleared."
On June 8, McNamara responded to Kahn's complaint by accusing Campo of making a threat involving the Park Board cutting off purchases from his son's business.
Campo has denied making such a threat.
McNamara's complaint came after another legislator, St. Paul DFLer Alice Hausman, testified that Campo told her, "I don't know why we would buy trees from his son's business anymore."
The Park Board has bought trees from the Hastings-area firm Hoffman & McNamara for years as one of multiple suppliers.
Kahn testified that McNamara "screamed at us to get out of his office and slammed the door," adding, "I have never felt so threatened and domineered by a fellow legislator."
But McNamara testified that his ire was directed mostly at another park lobbyist, Brian Rice, not Kahn. Another Republican legislator, Dennis Smith of Maple Grove, who also attended the meeting, backed up that account.
Another legislator, John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, testified for Kahn that he heard words "screamed" and people told to "get out" but that he was told by Kahn who had said them.
"She was scared," he said of Kahn.
McNamara apologized to Kahn after she filed her complaint.
During the session, legislators struck a compromise that allowed the Park Board to collect the money for the north Minneapolis park for three more years and then it will be distributed more equally among metro park agencies.