There is peace in the twitterverse.
Following a five-hour meeting of a Senate ethics panel last week, Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, apologized for tweeting a misleading statement about fellow Sen. Barb Goodwin.
Hoffman, a freshman Republican, tweeted during a floor debate over the state's health and human services budget debate last month that Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, had called people with mental disabilities "idiots and imbeciles." But Goodwin was actually using those words to describe language used in a bygone era to underscore how much things have advanced in recent decades.
The ethics panel ruled that they would drop the charges if Hoffman delivered Goodwin a written apology, retracted the tweet and then sent a new tweet linking to the panel's decision.
Legislators and staffers have increasingly taken to Twitter during floor debates to stoke their supporters and jab political rivals, often trying to discredit their arguments in real time.
This is the second time that a Twitter scuffle has resulted in a formal ethics charge. In 2009, Rep. Paul Gardner, DFL-Shoreview, got into similar trouble when he tweeted about GOP members during a testy tax debate, saying that then-Rep. Tom Emmer "seems to belittle his female colleagues (rage, sarcasm)."
Hoffman delivered her written apology but deleted her entire account rather than retracting the offending tweet. She then tweeted the panel's decision on an entirely new account, which had no followers soon after the apology was announced.
She wrote to Goodwin that the letter "is intended to be the written apology from me to you indicated by the Minnesota Senate Subcommittee on Ethical conduct." Hoffman told Goodwin: "I am certainly sorry for my own misunderstanding of what you said and how I subsequently handled it."
She added: "I am sure you share my unhappiness that this matter was not resolved between us on the floor on May 18."