We find it just amazing to hear Sen. David Hann (R-42, Eden Prairie) being critical of a fellow legislator over a conflict of interest. The reason being, in 2012 Hann did nearly the same thing in which Rep. Dan Schoen (DFL- 54A, Cottage Grove) is now being accused, which is benefiting from legislation he authored and passed into law. The difference is Hann opposed and prevented legislation from passing while Schoen supported it and found employment after passage.
We wonder how Hann can keep a straight face when he talks about issues like this, when Republicans criticized President Bill Clinton (D) during the Monica Lewinski Affair, there were t-shirts calling him the Lying King. We learn later this is compartmentalization. In Hann’s case it is just selective memory, or now that he is not the Chair of a key committee, he is no longer of value to the interested party.
Being feckless has its downside.
Here are the original stories which we published October 2012.
Since the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act (Obama Care), Republicans have been steadfast in their opposition to the law. At every turn, they have worked to undermine it, impede it or even ignore it. Here in Minnesota two of the most aggressive opponents are Sen. David Hann (R-42, Eden Prairie) Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and Rep. Steve Gottwalt (R-15B, St Cloud) Chair of the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee.
The first time we heard the legislators proposing changes in law came during a joint press conference on March 5, 2012. http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/141449283.html.
Since each chaired a committee involved is discussion of the topic. their respective interests could have played a factor in the debate on the legislation.
Each legislator has made public comments criticizing Governor Mark Dayton’s (DFL) decisions to work with the federal government to establish Health Care Exchange Network. Their aggressive stance is not a surprise since each fashion himself as a conservative, but what is a surprise, both will benefit financially from private insurance system.
Hann’s occupation is listed in the Official Directory of the Minnesota Legislature is as Business process consultant, but on June 28, 2012 he reactivated his licenses to sell Life, Accident and Health Insurance. His filing with the State of Minnesota of Economic Interest lists nothing in Sources of Compensation, but he lists self-employed under employer. We have learned, he recently became an associate with a firm called Boys and Tyler Financial Services, Inc, which provides a range of services including Medical, Health Care Savings Accounts and Dental.
It is likely Hann is an independent consultant and as we understand he has worked with a family company Deli Express for years, but it is easy to question whether the sale of insurance policies falls under the title of Business process consultant.
Like him, Gottwalt’s occupation is listed as business in the Official Directory of the Minnesota Legislature and his Economic Interest statement lists his Sources of Compensation as: State of Minnesota and Steve Gottwalt Consulting LLC.
Is Hann on the Ropes?
Our story on Sen. David Hann (R-42, Eden Prairie) helped generate the Fox 9 story on questions about his actual job. As Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, we felt his new role working with Boys and Tyler Financial Services Company, LLC, warranted some attention, especially since this company provides services which may be in lower demand with the implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act.
Since these stories ran Hann has seen fit to change his job description on his campaign website from Business Process Consultant to partnering agent with Boys and Tyler Financial Group Inc. after spending 25 years with Eden Prairie based E.A. Sween Company. This is far more information than disclosed previously. Also he scrubbed references to advising insurance companies. This change is quite significant when viewed in the light of the statement he released on the matter:
“I have not pursued all the requirements necessary by Minnesota law to become an insurance salesman. I cannot sell any insurance products. Therefore, no conflict exists and no disclosure is necessary. It would be misleading to suggest otherwise. This is a baseless political attack by my liberal DFL opponents.”
The attention Hann is generating is not favorable because he looks like he has been hiding something. He is not forthcoming until after the fact and now his integrity and credibility are in question.
The other person named in the issue is Rep. Steve Gottwalt (R-15B, St. Cloud) and he has not been willing to be interviewed, but sent us the following responses in email:
It’s not an insurance company. No conflict.
Sent from my smartphone
So, this what happens to anyone who questions Obamacare?
Sent from my smartphone
I have no record of any message from you prior to your publishing (very bad form). Given the busy-ness of this season, it is customary to leave some sort of message. But you were too eager for a “gotcha” to get your facts straight first. As a former journalist, I know the rules.
It’s not an insurance company. There is no conflict. Sounds like a poor attempt at an “October Surprise” smear.
I will continue to challenge the Dayton administration to tell Minnesotans exactly what it is doing to them. They owe Minnesotans some straight answers to the legitimate and serious questions raised: Specifically, what will their unilateral implementation of Obamacare do to Minnesotans? What is the end goal of their $73 million in federal grant expenditures? We are mere months away from implementation, yet they are unable or unwilling to tell us how this will impact Minnesota jobs, job creators, individuals, families, people in need, the state budget, economy, health care providers, nursing homes, etc., etc. — nothing. Maybe you could spend a little time digging into that.
When I was in journalism school, we didn’t report on “potential.” We learned to check our facts and attributions, and strive for accuracy, balance and fairness. We took it as a personal responsibility, because we knew what we reported could do great good or great harm — so we’d better get it right.
In the interest of balance and fairness, perhaps you should check the “potential” conflicts among all lawmakers and challengers. As I told Tom Lyden, you don’t have enough time in a dozen newscasts to cover all those “potential” conflicts.
Call Rep. Paul Thissen (an attorney) and ask him how many times he’s voted against tort reforms. Call Rep. Erin Murphy (a nurse, and director of the MN Nurses Association) and ask her how many bills she has carried or voted on that directly benefit nurses or union members. Call Rep. Carlos Marianni (a public school teacher) and ask him how many K-12 budgets he has helped craft and voted on. That’s just a few off the top of my head. I could go on and on and on. Do they also stand accused of “potential conflicts of interest”? Get my point? Don’t bother calling.
We will make the opportunity for Hann or Gottwalt to clear the air anytime they like. In fact we will go even one better former Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe (DFL) always was a consultant for companies involved in legislation on a broad range of topics, he regularly consulted and took monies from companies based in and out of Minnesota, but here is the key difference he would never work on issues regarding the Minnesota legislature.
After this story ran, we began hearing of past and current contracts with existing legislators and some Minnesota HMO’s. If this is true then we believe there is a true conflict of interest out there yet to be reported. Discussions of the reimbursement rates for HMO’s or even the amount of monies in their reserve funds will be something we will be looking into.