MNGOP Sen. David Hann chairs Health Committee, didn't disclose health insurance job
Hann hasn't been forthcoming about what he does for a living, and some folks are asking why.
Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, is chair of the Senate's Health and Human Services Committee and as such, is tasked with regulating insurance companies. Nonetheless, he didn't inform citizens when he recently took a job with Boys and Tyler Financial Group, a company that sells health insurance.
If MinnPost's Cyndy Brucato can be believed, Hann's reelection campaign against Democrat Lauric McKendry has "heated up" and "become very competitive" thanks largely to the conflict-of-interest revelation.
The story was first reported by local political blogger TwoPuttTommy. Tommy noted that Hann vaguely describes his occupation as "business process consultant" on his website, the official Senate website, and in campaign finance filings. Yet according to a tweet published last month by Twila Brase, president and co-founder of the conservative Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, Hann is now working in the insurance industry:
News Today at MAHU forum: Sen. DAVID HANN (R-MN) has license to sell insurance, has joined Boys & Tyler Financial & is now on a MAHU board.
-- Twila Brase (@twilabrase) October 4, 2012
A Fox 9 report notes that there are plenty of precedents of legislators regulating industries they work in, but according to government expert David Schultz, Hann's lack of transparency makes his case unique.
"The fact that he appears to have gone out of his way not to disclose work appears to lend suspicion that he's hiding it for reasons that he wants to hide," Schultz told Fox.
Compounding the appearance of a conflict of interest is the fact that Hann's Health Committee co-chair, Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, is also an associate at Tyler Financial. So what are these guys thinking about when considering possible insurance industry regulations, their bank accounts or taxpayers? Because at least in some instances, it seems as though the best interests of one or the other will come into conflict.
In the MinnPost report, DFL chair Ken Martin says, "The reality is that you have to call into question someone's ethics when the job they are paid to do conflicts with his Senate chairmanship of a committee that provides oversight to the industry."
Hann, for his part, says he hasn't "pursued all the requirements necessary by Minnesota law to become an insurance salesman." But according to Fox, that's only because no company has authorized him to write a policy yet. "That, however, is a very quick process," Fox's Tom Lyden writes.
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