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Minnesota GOP senators call for ethics probe of DFL colleague

The call for an investigation comes after reports that Sen. Omar Fateh carried legislation for a group that endorsed him and a campaign volunteer was convicted in federal court.

Minnesota Senate - 013122
Members of the Minnesota Senate on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, applauded after Sen. Dave Osmek, R-Mound, was elected as Senate president on the first day of the 2022 legislative session.
Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service
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ST. PAUL — Republicans in the Minnesota Senate on Tuesday, May 24, announced that they'd filed an ethics complaint against a Democratic-Farmer-Labor lawmaker.

The senators sought an ethics inquiry of Sen. Omar Fateh, DFL-Minneapolis, following reports that he'd carried legislation to fund an organization after receiving its endorsement and that a volunteer on his primary campaign was convicted of election law violations.

“Minnesotans place their trust in elected officials to direct state policy and state spending," the GOP lawmakers said. "Unfortunately, what we have recently learned regarding Sen. Omar Fateh has raised questions about legislation he has sponsored at the Senate and the conduct of the primary election that elevated him to the Minnesota Senate."

Several senators filed the complaint with the president of the Senate. Those senators are:

  • Sen. Mark Koran, R-North Branch
  • Sen. Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks
  • Sen. Justin Eichorn, R-Grand Rapids
  • Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson
  • Sen. Andrew Mathews, R-Princeton
  • Sen. Mike Goggin, R-Red Wing
  • Sen. John Jasinski, R- Faribault

And they asked that the Senate Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct probe whether Fateh received an in-kind campaign contribution from the YouTube channel Somali TV of Minnesota , then carried a bill on its behalf. The Minnesota Reformer first reported that story. They also asked that the panel review Fateh's potential involvement in election fraud.

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A federal court convicted a former volunteer on Fateh's campaign of lying to a grand jury about delivering absentee ballots for voters without their knowledge.

Leaders of the Senate Democratic-Farmer-Labor Caucus on Tuesday said they welcomed the investigation.

"We have confidence that our Senate colleagues on the Ethics Committee will conduct a fair, bipartisan inquiry," they said in a statement.

The Senate president, along with two senators of each political party, makes up the subcommittee. They will have 30 days to meet to consider the complaint and could recommend disciplinary action.

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Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter  @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email  dferguson@forumcomm.com.

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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