Lawmaker’s alleged outburst prompts ethics complaint

Updated 3:33 p.m. | Posted 2:05 p.m.

A DFL state lawmaker has filed an ethics complaint against one of her Republican colleagues.

Rep Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, claims that Rep. Dennis McNamara, R-Hastings, yelled at her and a lobbyist in a threatening way because he believed the Minneapolis Park Board was not doing enough business with McNamara’s son's landscaping business.

Kahn says she thinks McNamara should apologize and take anger management classes.

“It was really scary," Kahn said. "I don’t want to say that he pulled a weapon or clenched a fist or anything like that. But it was scary. I’m not quite up to physical confrontations with people who are bigger and younger than me."

McNamara has not responded to the allegations.

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McNamara issued this statement Monday afternoon:

During the legislative session, a DFL lawmaker informed me that a lobbyist for the Minneapolis Park Board had allegedly stated that if a decades-old earmark for the North Minneapolis Regional Park was to be repealed from existing law, there might be retaliation to my son’s landscaping and nursery business. I was appalled by such underhanded threats and intimidation.

Subsequently, I met with Brian Rice, a lobbyist for the Minneapolis Park Board, and Representatives Phyllis Kahn and Dennis Smith. In the heat of the moment, I reacted in a way that I now regret. To Rep. Kahn, with whom I’ve always had a great working relationship, I would like to apologize, as my words were not directed at her but to Mr. Rice, who I thought had made the threat.

The point I was attempting to make was that votes cast by members of the legislature, whether Republican or Democrat, should never be held against their family members. As I made very clear, my integrity is not for sale.

After this meeting, the DFL lawmaker who first brought this matter to my attention, conveyed to me that the threat to my son's business came from Maryanne Campo, another lobbyist for the Minneapolis Park Board.

Rep. Dennis Smith, R-Maple Grove issued this statement:

I attended the meeting and at no time felt that Representative

McNamara's comments were directed towards Rep. Kahn, nor did Rep.

McNamara ever approach Rep. Kahn in a threatening manner.

The House Ethics Committee now has to consider the complaint.

Here's a copy of the complaint: