MN House panel dismisses Kahn’s complaint of threat

The Minnesota House Ethics Committee has declined to investigate a complaint about a fight between legislators.

The complaint was brought by Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, who said Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, yelled at her in his office on May 16.

Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, and Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis.

The confrontation stems from McNamara's son's landscaping business with the Minneapolis Parks Board.

McNamara included a provision in his environment omnibus bill that changed a law Kahn worked on that dedicates interest earnings from the Met Council to the North Mississippi Regional Park.

Kahn's complaint stated that McNamara thought the Minneapolis Parks Board threatened to curb business with McNamara's son's landscaping firm as a result.

Kahn said she felt verbally and physically threatened in a meeting with McNamara and Minneapolis Parks Board lobbyist Brian Rice.

McNamara said he did yell in the meeting, but his ire was directed at Rice, not Kahn.

"I told him to never ever, ever, ever, ever ... ever come back," McNamara said, adding that he felt the whole situation was a "witch hunt" against his family.

"I clearly felt that the anger and the irritation in Rep. McNamara's voice was clearly directed at me, too," Kahn said in the ethics hearing. "I have never felt so threatened and domineered" while in the Legislature, she said.

The bipartisan panel found there was no probably cause to investigate the matter further.

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