Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

DFL lawmaker did not act unethically in U of M role, probe finds

Rep. Jamie Long resigned from a role at the University of Minnesota in September.
Jamie Long

A state lawmaker did not act unethically while holding a position at the University of Minnesota, the results of a recent investigation found.

Rep. Jamie Long (DFL-Minneapolis) took a position at the university's Energy Transition Lab (ETL) in July as a policy fellow. In the role, Long was tasked with researching greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota and planning a January conference, among other duties.

A third party investigation examining Long’s position was made public Monday, after complaints were made by Republicans that Long's position raised the potential for conflicts of interest, as well as suggesting that he could be classed as a lobbyist.

Long resigned from the position on Sept. 20, after the university had decided to eliminate the position in the wake of the complaints.

"The report we received from a neutral third party completely exonerates Representative Long from all allegations of impropriety made by Representatives Swedzinski and [Kurt] Daudt,” House Speaker Melissa Hortman said in a statement Monday. 

In a statement Monday, Long said: "It was unfortunate that the House GOP chose to play politics with research on climate change solutions.

"I’m committed to achieving a clean energy future for Minnesota, and a disproved partisan attack won’t slow me down.”

So what was the issue?

Long was identified for the position by former Sen. Ellen Anderson (DFL-St. Paul), who currently works for the university, and met with Anderson and ETL project manager Barb Jacobs in March to discuss the position. Long also indicated what he was seeking potential employment after the end of the legislative session.

Anderson initially told Long the fellowship would comprise of two positions, with Long representing a progressive view point. The bipartisan program would also include a conservative voice, Anderson said.

The position was eventually modified to include only one fellow. Anderson and Jacobs reportedly modified the job description to meet Long’s preferences.

A statement from University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel said that asking a candidate to assist in creating a job description is not “common practice” but that writing a description with a candidate in mind is not against policy.

According to Anderson, Long was her “preferred” candidate at the time, but had not been formally chosen. Long was informed he would need to apply for the position like any other candidate.

However, communications obtained by House Republicans and made public in September show internal ETL budget correspondence from March. In those communications, Jacobs indicated that funding for the position had been secured and that Long had been selected.

Anderson also submitted a request for funding for the position from the Bloomberg Foundation via the McKnight Foundation, which identified Long as the proposed fellow, the report states.

“We got [money] from [McKnight] to… hire MN Jamie Long…” Jacobs wrote in an email.

The job listing for the position was not posted until months later, on June 17. Long applied and was offered the position on July 12 after Anderson had interviewed two other candidates.

Following the release of the communications, House Republicans called on Speaker Hortman to investigate Long’s position and potential conflicts of interest.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

In a letter to Hortman, Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R-Ghent) raised questions over whether the position qualified Long as a lobbyist, or if he was given special treatment because of his status as a legislator, according to a Sep. 12 statement from Swedzinski’s office.

But the investigation found no evidence that indicated Long was aware he had been identified in correspondence or the request for funding ahead of applying for the role.

The report also indicates that the only House votes Long had taken relating to the work of ETL was on a higher education omnibus bill and an energy policy omnibus bill. The higher education bill did not include funding for ETL, and the policies within the energy bill did not directly impact ETL’s work.

Long also took these votes before taking the position at ETL, the report notes. The only contact Long had with a legislator in the position was during a tour of a university lab, where Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) was also present. The report states that there is no evidence to indicate Long took action with Dibble to influence legislation. 

Next Up

Sharon Mollerus - duluth - snow plow car

Sunday snowstorm walloping MN's North Shore with huge totals

Just ridiculous snow totals expected the rest of Sunday.

Screen Shot 2021-12-05 at 6.49.03 AM

Saturday snow causes havoc on Twin Cities roads

There were countless spinouts and crashes across Minnesota.

Kirill Kaprizov

Wild win battle of NHL's hottest teams, extend winning streak to six

Kirill Kaprizov delivered a shootout winner to take down the Maple Leafs.

Eric Kendricks

Vikings downgrade Eric Kendricks to out against Lions

The Vikings have also activated Michael Pierce from injured reserve.

u.s. attorney

Minnesotan sentenced after assaulting man with baseball bat

Marshall Wayne Boshey was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

Target store

Target's gift card discount is back, but for this weekend only

The fine print: for Target Circle members only (but membership is free).

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Minneapolis teen arrested in St. Cloud after fleeing police in stolen vehicle

The vehicle was stolen in a car-jacking in Minneapolis Thursday.

snow, blowing snow

Winter storm warnings issued with heavy snow set to slam MN

Parts of northern Minnesota could see more than a foot of snow, but there won't be much in the Twin Cities.

Related

$74k probe fails to find source of U of M sexual harassment leak

The independent investigation took about four months.

University of Minnesota

U of M will continue online classes into the summer

All instruction was initially moved online March 11 to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

University of minnesota sign

U of M president promises students 'comprehensive' refunds

It comes after the offer of a $1,200 refund for room and board costs drew criticism.

George Floyd

North Central University, U of M announce scholarships in George Floyd's name

More than 15 universities across the country have created scholarships in honor of George Floyd.

U of M economist probes rules of negotiation

People with bargaining power in negotiations behave selfishly -- but believe themselves fair. In a nutshell, that's the conclusion of a new economics experiment overseen in part by Aldo Rustichini at the University of Minnesota.

University of minnesota sign

U of M gets $5M donation for new center to address racial inequality in healthcare

Using a donation from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the School of Public Health will work to address racial disparities in healthcare.

University of Minnesota

U of M will halt admissions to 12 PhD programs

The move is expected to help address the school's estimated budget shortfall of $166 million.

Lawmakers pick insurance executive to fill Sviggum's U of M regents seat

Tom Devine, who co-owns an Edina insurance company, will take Steve Sviggum's former seat on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. The term runs until 2017. Sviggum resigned amid conflict of interest concerns about his job as communications director for state Senate Republicans.