Minnesota's House Minority Leader, Rep. Kurt Daudt, has been appointed the Director of Public Affairs for a firm that connects clients to government lobbyists, but says he will continue to serve as a lawmaker.
Daudt, the former House Speaker and the Republican representative for House District 31A, has joined Virginia-based Stateside Associates, which seeks to coordinate advocacy and influence policy on behalf of its clients at the state and local government level across the U.S.
The announcement on Friday says that Daudt's role "does not involve lobbying," and it's a part-time position that allows him to continue to serve in the Minnesota Legislature.
BMTN also understands that Rep. Daudt will be keeping his position as House Minority Leader.
"In his role, Daudt will support Stateside's clients with a wide range of public affairs solutions, availing them of his deep knowledge of the legislative process, public policy experience and access to elected and appointed leaders and officials in all 50 states gained from his nine (9) years in the legislature and in national leadership positions," the announcement states.
"Kurt brings a wealth of political and government experience to Stateside and he is respected by leaders across the country on both sides of the political aisle — he will be a tremendous addition to our team," said Michael Behm, Co-CEO of Stateside. "Kurt is a leader, a reformer and coalition builder in Minnesota, and will bring those capabilities and strategic vision to his new position at Stateside."
Stateside Associates describes itself as a "government relations" company, and rather than employ lobbyists directly appears instead to connect clients with registered lobbyists. Its website states that it offers service that includes "building relationships between clients and key local leaders" and offers to "educate, influence and motivate policymakers."
It counts BP, eBay, Delta, Comcast, FedEx and GlaxoSmithKline among its former clients.
Daudt has been one of the most prominent GOP voices in the Minnesota Legislature since his election in 2010, and he served as House Speaker between 2015 and 2019, when the Republicans relinquished control of the house to the DFL.
Minnesota does have a law in place with regards to lawmakers and lobbying, preventing former state legislators from registering as lobbyists within a year of leaving office.
Daudt's new role has drawn criticism from DFL chairman Ken Martin, who suggests he should either resign his new role or leave the Legislature.
"Kurt Daudt is opening himself up to massive conflicts of interest by working for a lobbying firm while serving as a leader in the Minnesota House of Representatives," he said.
"How can his constituents trust that Daudt is actually acting in their best interests and not those of his lobbying clients?
“The people of Daudt’s district deserve a representative who works on their behalf, not someone looking to sell his access to the highest bidder. If Kurt Daudt cared about behaving ethically in office, he would resign from his new position or leave the Minnesota House of Representatives.”