Drain the Swamp

Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed HF 9, the tax omnibus bill. This legislation contained a key provision brought forward by the members of the New House Republican Caucus (NHRC) that will curb the influence of lobbyists in St. Paul.

“Since I have been in the Minnesota Legislature, massive lobbying firms have had an outsized impact on what goes on in our state government,” said Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa). “Our caucus authored an amendment to the tax omnibus bill that will prevent legislators from cashing in on their power and influence.”

The amendment brought forward by the New House Republican Caucus prohibits sitting legislators from being employed by organizations or firms whose primary activity is legislative lobbying. The amendment was passed by the Minnesota House of Representatives by a vote of 119-1 and was attached to the tax omnibus bill.

“Transparency in government is one of the primary reasons I ran for office,” said Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal). “We cannot have legislators who claim to represent the interests of their constituents, but also exchange legislative favors with wealthy clients. No one can serve two masters. If you are elected to the Minnesota Legislature, then you should represent the people. No legislator should be trading on the sacred trust given to them by the voters.”

The Minnesota House of Representatives passed the tax omnibus bill by a vote of 69-55. The bill must be passed by the Minnesota Senate and signed by Governor Tim Walz before it becomes law.

“Our amendment is a commonsense, basic standard that is long overdue,” said Rep. Cal Bahr (R-East Bethel). “Frankly, the fact that anyone would disagree with this idea is ridiculous. If a sitting legislator is employed by a lobbying firm, then we do not know if they are casting certain votes on behalf of their constituents or on behalf of their clients. The conflict of interest is clear, and the Minnesota House of Representatives is right to end this practice.”

Rep. Tim Miller (R-Prinsburg) concluded, “As members of the Minnesota Legislature, we are responsible to live up to the highest standards of character and integrity. At the end of the day, elected officials can choose to either serve the people or serve themselves. This caucus has worked tirelessly to put people first, and we believe our amendment will make sure more legislators do the same.”