A second Minnesota state lawmaker is being accused of sexual misconduct.
One is a lobbyist who asked to remain anonymous. She said Cornish, serving his eighth term in the House, made a comment about his erection to her during a private meeting four years ago, and sent suggestive texts despite being told she wasn't interested.
The other is Rep. Erin Maye Quade, who on Thursday – after the allegations against DFL Sen. Dan Schoen surfaced – said harassment in the Legislature was a far bigger problem than one person.
Quade provided texts to MPR and the Star Tribune in which he says he was caught staring at her on the House floor, telling her she looked "too damned good."
Cornish has denied any misconduct, specifically during the private meeting with the lobbyist, but did admit to some of the text messages.
House Speaker Daudt starts the complaint process
Rep. Kurt Daudt, the House Speaker, in a statement called the new claims against Cornish "extremely troubling," and said he has followed procedure by sharing the reports with the House Director of Human Resources.
After consulting with the House Republican Executive Committee, Cornish's chairmanship is being suspended as well, and the House's HR department will start a complaint process.
"In addition, I spoke with Rep. Cornish and told him that his reported actions were inappropriate and unacceptable as a member of our caucus and the Legislature," Daudt added.
Cornish is a retired police officer, and was on three committees this year, including public safety and security, environment, and ways and means.
He lives in Vernon Center and represents that area south of Mankato in House District 23B.
Quade, Becker-Finn say more stories are out there
And Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL from Roseville) said in part: "Sen. Schoen is not the only person in the Minnesota Legislature to act inappropriately towards women. My hope is that as the truth comes to light, others will feel empowered to step forward so we can meaningfully work towards true change at our State Capitol."