Steve Sviggum

At first blush, former GOP House Speaker Steve Sviggum serving as communications director for the Senate GOP Caucus would appear to some to be a conflict.

According to our states largest newspaper, Sviggum's employment has put him in a situation fraught with conflict of interest.

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To that I ask, really? Is that a road we really want to travel? How about all those legislators who also work for other units of government? Does that mean they, too, have to abstain from public service if they have another government job? They certainly are voting on many issues including funding that affect those other governmental units.

That rules out the teachers, the professors, the public defenders, the assistant county attorneys, the government-paid-for economic development people. That weeds out the legislators who work for nonprofits that benefit from appropriations made by the legislature. [There are hundreds (and hundreds) of local nonprofits who receive millions of dollars in pass-through federal and state government funding.] Goodbye to legislators who work for companies that have received major state bailouts over the years.

And, while we're at it, let's rightfully impute that conflict to the spouses of anyone who serves as an elected member or staff to the legislature. Lets impute that conflict to their children, their parents, their grandchildren, hecktheir lovers, their best friends. Let's impute that conflict to the converse of all the afore-mentioned: Their enemies.

But perhaps worst of all, our states major newspaper, when opining about it's own conflict of interest in keeping the Vikings at the Metrodome, writes:

(Disclosure: At one time the Vikings had an option to buy the Star Tribune property for $45 million. Although the option expired, the value of the property is likely to be affected by the stadium decision.)

In my book, $45 million translates into the Star Tribune being much, much more than merely affected by the stadium decision.

Pot: Kettle.

Kettle: Really, really black.

Life is inherently full of conflicts. Life works when conflicts are exposed and can be accounted for.

If the Star Tribune thinks Sviggum should quit, then the Star Tribune should quit opining about the Vikings Stadium.

Both conflicts are in the public domain.

But one media corporation with a $45 million conflict has no business chastising a person with a $102,000-a-year conflict.

Unless, of course, that media corporation wants to disclose it's own conflicts in any editorial it writes about conflicts.

An aside, which I may or may not pick up on later. From what I hear, Sviggum is a fantastic addition to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. Sviggum is asking questions. Good ones.

He's no shill for University politics as usual. Which seems to be the modus operandi at the University: The Board serves as a high profile rubber stamp to a too-top-heavy and much-too-much-insulated University Administration. Methinks THAT might be driving the move to get rid of Sviggum on the Board.

And there's an awful lot of multiple six-figure-salaried administrators at the University who aren't happy about Sviggum asking questions. [Maybe the Star Tribune editorial board should ask the news department to look into that story.]

Sorry. Can't help myself. I end with my usual mantra. Follow the money.

OR, get rid of all the conflicts at the Capitol.

The place will be empty. Except for the cafeteria staff and the janitorial squad.

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Posted in Publishing and Printing Post Date 04/16/2020


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