House Ethics Committee postpones hearing into complaint against Representative John Thompson – WCCO

ST. PAUL (WCCO) – The House Ethics Committee has delayed action on a rare ethics complaint filed against Representative John Thompson so that the DFL lawmaker can have a lawyer present.

On Friday morning, there was a hearing into a complaint filed by Representative Eric Lucero, R-Dayton, citing an example during a House debate in June in which Thompson called him “racist.”

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“John Thompson’s comments have been destructive to the integrity of this body,” Lucero said at the meeting.

But committee chair, Rep. Jim Davnie, DFL-Minneapolis, granted Thompson’s request to postpone the meeting to another time when he could be represented by legal counsel. The hearing will likely resume next week.

Lucero accuses Thompson’s rhetoric of having “dishonored and discredited” the chamber of the House and “attacked” his character.

The ethics complaint, filed on June 29, precedes reports of domestic violence that emerged last week with allegations dating back to 2003, which have since mired the first-term lawmaker in controversy. The DFL lawmaker has not been convicted of any assault charges in these cases and denies any wrongdoing.

“Such direct attempts by one member to intimidate and intimidate another in the House cannot be tolerated; such an infringement of the rules of the legislative process must not remain, ”indicates the complaint.

Lucero Friday called Thompson’s comments “destructive” to the body. Thompson made no comment during the meeting other than his request for a postponement.

Ethics complaints are infrequent in the legislature. The state constitution allows each chamber to punish its members for “disorderly behavior” and can even expel someone from the body if two-thirds of the members agree.

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“Ethics complaints are extremely rare,” said Davnie, the chairman, reminding members of the rules of procedure. “The ethics committee is unique among all the committees at Minnesota House. It is an inward-looking committee, a place where lawmakers hold each other accountable.

The committee, after reviewing the complaint, could recommend a vote to remove Thompson from the House, although this is unprecedented. The Minnesota Reference Library said it had found no record of anyone ever expelled from the House over an ethics complaint at least in the past four decades, when it started to keep a register of complaints and subsequent actions.

The last time such a complaint was brought before the House was six years ago. Since 1986, this has happened 11 times, according to the researchers.

More complaints could be filed against Thompson, House Republicans said. They called on House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, to take disciplinary action, but in response, she said it would not take any action until the “end of the legal process”.

Separately, Thompson was convicted on Wednesday of obstructing a misdemeanor following an incident at North Memorial Hospital in 2019.

Thompson has already resisted calls for resignation. On Wednesday in Minneapolis, he told reporters the verdict was an “obstacle in the road” for him and vowed to continue “to fight for people who look like me.” Thompson has been a leading voice for police and criminal justice accountability measures in the legislature.

“I’m just asking for a little respect for myself and my family. Just give us a few days and we’ll make a decision and get back to you on that, ”Thompson said.

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Allegations of domestic violence surfaced after Thompson publicly accused a St. Paul police sergeant of racial profiling during a traffic stop on July 4. The department said Thompson has since apologized.

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