MNGOP Rep. Steve Gottwalt resigns after second recent conflict-of-interest controversy
Gottwalt and DFL Rep. Terry Morrow have both announced their resignation from the legislature for private sector jobs since November's election.
Yesterday, news broke that Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, was taking a full-time job with the Minneapolis-based Center for Diagnostic Imaging, a registered lobbying associating.
While it's certainly not a good look for a legislator to be working simultaneously for a lobbying association, initial reports, citing comments made by MNGOP House spokeswoman Susan Closmore, indicated Gottwalt planned to continue serving in the legislature.
But by evening time, Gottwalt had reconsidered. He sent a letter to fellow House members informing them his new gig is "more than a full time job, and one that will not allow me the time I need to represent the people of District 14A as their State Representative."
Before Gottwalt announced his resignation, Elisabeth Quam, executive director of CDI Imaging, told the Star Tribune that Gottwalt would be working as a health care policy analyst for 27 states, not including Minnesota. The St. Cloud Times, citing information from the Minnesota House Research Department, reported yesterday that the House has a rule against members accepting compensation for lobbying, but only if that lobbying occurs inside the state.
Yesterday afternoon wasn't the first time in recent months Gottwalt raised eyebrows with a conflict-of-interest controversy. In December, we told you about how some DFL legislators wanted an ethics committee to look into the fact that Gottwalt and Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, were serving on the Health and Human Service Committee -- the body tasked with regulating insurance companies -- while working as associates with Boys and Tyler Financial Group, a company that sells health insurance.
MPR reports that Governor Dayton will call a special election to replace Gottwalt, who was first elected to the House in 2006. Gottwalt says his resignation will be complete by the end of the month.
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