If there's one thing that Minnesota legislators appear to enjoy relaying to the public, it's about how focused on being transparent they are, especially as it relates to being selective in spending taxpayer dollars. A recent investigation shows that they aren't forthright with everything, though.
Researchers found that they appear to collectively and intentionally sweep legal settlements, employee complaints and instances of impropriety among lawmakers under the carpet.
It should be noted that the nondisclosure of this information is not being done in violation of any state policies or laws.
Instead, over the years, Minnesota state legislators have purposefully crafted state regulations so that this type of information is exempt from having to be disclosed under the existing open records laws. It's because of this that, in most cases, misconduct among state representatives or senators is often only heard about if a whistleblower steps forward.
In recent years, there have been two memorable instances in which many taxpayers would have perhaps liked to have heard about their lawmaker's indiscretions, but didn't until long after the fact.
Republicans in Minnesota's House of Representatives reportedly had a lawsuit filed against them at one point. In it, an individual accused one of their members of discrimination in the workplace. They reportedly ended up settling the case with the individual for $72,500. Reportedly it was so hush-hush, that not even their fellow Democrats knew about it.
In another instance in 2015, it came out that the Democrats ended up settling a two-year long sexual harassment case, but never were willing to specify the name of the victim in the case.
Once each of these cases was learned about, legislators for both parties were contacted. Each said that they knew for sure that taxpayer money didn't go to settling the lawsuits. No evidence was produced to corroborate those statements though.
When pressed for additional details on the two cases, legislators from both sides simply said that they're working to find ways to eliminate discrimination, such as sexual harassment, in the workplace.
If you believe that you've been treated inappropriately, unfairly or you've been harassed on the job, then a St. Paul, Minnesota workplace discrimination attorney may recommend filing suit against your employer.
Source: Fairbault Daily News, "Why Legislature doesn't release information on harassment, settlements: They don't have to," Tom Scheck, Dec. 06, 2017