Michigan’s state legislature recently said goodbye to two Republican lawmakers – Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat – who had an extra-marital affair with one another, and then got caught lying about it. The Michigan House voted last week to expel Gamrat, and around the same time, Courser resigned.
And as it turns out, as that story was unfolding, an unexpectedly similar controversy broke in nearby Minnesota. KARE, the NBC affiliate in the Twin Cities, had this report two weeks ago:
Two Minnesota lawmakers Wednesday vehemently denied a Dakota County park ranger’s report that they were “making out” in a car in Eagan.Rep. Tim Kelly of Red Wing and Rep. Tara Mack of Apple Valley drew the nuisance citations Aug. 25 from Dakota County Parks Ranger Jordan Moses, who encountered them in a parking lot at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan. […]The public copies of those citations identify the cars involved, and the time of day, 4:30 p.m.. But they don’t include the officer’s notes. But another court document, a case register obtained by the St. Paul Pioneer Press, included a briefing notation by Ranger Moses. “Was making out with female in car. When I approached the female’s pants were unzipped and pulled down.”
The Minnesota Republicans, who are both married to other people, accused the parks ranger of telling “an absolute lie” and vowed to file an official complaint against him. Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie defended the ranger telling the local station, “He doesn’t know these people. He’s just doing his job.”
Yesterday, the state lawmakers changed their stories – a bit.
In separate statements, Mack and Kelly say they did not mean to disrespect the park ranger or law enforcement as a whole.Mack states, “Since becoming a State Representative in 2009, I have been a strong supporter of our men and women in law enforcement. I understand that the Park Ranger was trying to do his job. I have the utmost respect for the work law enforcement does to keep Minnesotans safe and I apologize for offending these great men and women.”Kelly’s statement echoed that sentiment. “After serious reflection on the last two weeks, I can say that I am disappointed in myself for the way I handled my disagreement with a park ranger. I reacted to this in an emotional way and certainly without respect and professionalism. Several of my own family members serve in law enforcement and I have nothing but respect for the entire community. There is a proper way to handle conflicts and as a state representative you should certainly expect me to do so. I apologize to my constituents, to the law enforcement community and to the state of Minnesota.”
The two also stepped down from the state legislature’s Ethics Committee.
What Mack and Kelly did not do is comment on their suspected affair. They’re sorry they went after the park ranger, but they didn’t apologize for any personal misconduct.
A leading Minnesota Democrat described the controversy as “unresolved.”