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Rep. Jim Hagedorn being investigated by House Ethics Committee

The probe appears to be related to his office's finances.
Jim Hagedorn

The U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Ethics revealed it is investigating Minnesota 1st District Rep. Jim Hagedorn.

The committee's chairman and ranking member released a brief statement Tuesday, noting they chose to "extend the matter" regarding Hagedorn. The statement doesn't provide any details about the circumstances of the investigation, only saying the probe was referred to the committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics on July 23, 2021.

Disclosing this extension publicly, which is mandatory, "does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee," the announcement reads.

But a statement from an attorney on behalf of Hagedorn, provided to Roll Call, says the congressman "self-reported this matter to the Ethics Committee last year." The attorney called the decisions to "investigate something that was already under review" a "waste of taxpayer funds and House resources.”

In August of 2020, Minnesota Reformer reported on some questionable financials in Hagedorn's campaign. It spent $100,000 from taxpayer funds to have a Texas-based company, Invocq, print campaign mailings — but the company was part-owned by one of the congressman's staffers. 

This led to calls for an ethics probe, and days later Hagedorn fired his chief of staff over the matter.

Then in October, Politico reported additional claims: Hagedorn, for years, had allegedly not been paying any rent for the Mankato office space his campaign used as its headquarters. That office was reportedly provided by a donor. The outlets described the occurrence as "at best, highly irregular or sloppy spending practices; at worst, it’s a breach of campaign finance law."

The Committee on Ethics will announce its course of action no later than Oct. 21, the statement says.

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Hagedorn, a Republican, is a native of Blue Earth, Minnesota. He was first elected to the state's 1st Congressional District in 2018, following two previous failed bids (both losses to now-Gov. Tim Walz).

In July, he announced his kidney cancer had reoccurred, but said he was encouraged by treatment options and would continue to fight.

He and his wife, Jennifer Carnahan, have also been in the news due to their relationship with Anton "Tony" Lazzaro — a prominent GOP strategist who last month was charged with multiple counts of child sex trafficking.

The 30-year-old Lazzaro was a guest at Carnahan and Hagedorn's wedding in 2018, and the congressman has a photo on Facebook of the three together at a Vikings game the prior year. Lazzaro also donated more than $8,000 to Friends of Hagedorn, the congressman's principal committee, from 2019-21, and thousands more to Hagedorn-supporting PACs Magadorn and Hagedorn Victory Fund, according to federal records.

Hagedorn said he intends to donate whatever money his campaign received from Lazzaro.

Carnahan, meanwhile, was recently ousted as head of the Minnesota GOP, following questions about her ties to Lazzaro and her handling of sexual harassment and misconduct claims while she was the party chair. 

She has denied the allegations.

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