New role for Steve Sviggum raises new conflict of interest questions

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents will examine whether Steve Sviggum's new job as spokesman for Senate Republicans conflicts with his Regents post. It's the second conflict discussion for Sviggum, who resigned his teaching fellowship at the U of M's Humphrey School of Public Affairs when he first took the Regents position.
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The University of Minnesota Board of Regents will examine whether Steve Sviggum's new job as spokesman for Senate Republicans conflicts with his Regents post. It's the second conflict discussion for Sviggum, who resigned his teaching fellowship at the U of M's Humphrey School of Public Affairs when he first took the Regents position.

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A group of regents is asking Steve Sviggum to step down from the University of Minnesota's board, saying his other job as communications director for the Senate GOP creates a conflict of interest. Earlier this week, an outside attorney and a lawyer for the regents issued a similar opinion. Still, Sviggum says the two jobs are not in conflict and that he will not step down, at least until the full board weighs in.

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University of Minnesota Regent Steve Sviggum says board chair Linda Cohen and a university lawyer cleared his high paying new job with the Minnesota Senate before he accepted it. That version contradicts the university's stance that the former Speaker of the House may have a conflict of interest by taking the politically charged position.

U of M regents panel meets Friday to discuss Sviggum post

Three regents will meet as a committee to discuss whether Steve Sviggum's job at the Legislature represents a conflict of interest. Sviggum says there's no conflict because he has no policy-making authority in his post as communications director for Senate Republicans. The panel will make a recommendation to the full Board of Regents.

Two legal opinions conclude Sviggum must choose between U, Capitol

Lawyers inside and outside the University of Minnesota found a conflict of interest in Steve Sviggum's dual roles as university regent and staff member for state Senate Republicans. The university's General Counsel says when U of M business comes up at the Capitol, Sviggum will have competing loyalties. Sviggum sees no conflict because he has no policymaking authority in the Legislature.

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University of Minnesota Board of Regents Chairwoman Linda Cohen is asking two attorneys to review Steve Sviggum's dual roles to determine whether he may have a conflict of interest. Sviggum, who currently serves the university as a regent, also recently took a staff job with the Senate Republican Caucus.

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The Pioneer Press reports regents Chair Linda Cohen is expected to announce steps to determine if there is a conflict of interest with Steve Sviggum's position on the Board of Regents and his new job as Senate GOP communications chief. The former Minnesota House speaker insists there isn't a conflict with the two positions, pointing to the board's ethics policy that only prohibits pursing elected office.

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The three finalists include a bank president, a school district superintendent and an insurance company executive. Steve Sviggum stepped down from the board over concerns his job as Senate communications chief created a conflict. The full House and Senate is expected to select the new University of Minnesota regent Wednesday.

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