Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt has confirmed a story saying he has been chased by debt collectors in the past year, admitting he's "struggled as a result of the recession."
MPR broke the news Tuesday morning, finding that the GOP representative had been sued by debt collectors three times in the past year for more than $13,000 in credit card charges, with one of those cases heard on Monday.
The news organization also reports Daudt was penalized for not paying 2015 taxes on his home in Isanti County, and claims he only paid what he owed after learning MPR was working on a story.
In a statement sent to BringMeTheNews, Daudt said the following:
"Like many Minnesotans who struggled as a result of the recession, I lost my job and faced credit card debt. This issue is now resolved and there is no outstanding debt. When I stand up for middle-class families who are feeling squeezed, it is not a talking point, it is real life. I look forward to spending the next ten weeks working to provide middle-class tax relief to Minnesota families and pass a long-term road and bridge funding package."
You can read the MPR investigation here, which goes into further detail about how two of the debt cases against the House Speaker were "vacated" after being found in favor of his creditor Capital One.
CityPages notes the "awkward" timing of the story for Daudt, coming as lawmakers return on Tuesday for the 2016 legislative session, during which Daudt will lead the GOP efforts on how the state spends a $900 million surplus
The website reports that Daudt, who was elected to the House in 2010, was formerly employed as a car salesman.
House Minority Leader Paul Thissen described the revelations as "troubling," and drew a parallel between his opposite number's personal situation and his views on laid off workers in Minnesota's Iron Range.
"There remain many unanswered questions about this troubling story. The only person who can clear things up is Speaker Daudt. It’s in the public’s interest that he disclose the nature of the settlement he reached on his debt with a law firm with significant lobbying ties at the Capitol. He should clarify who owns and lives at the properties where taxes were delinquent. And he should make it clear who paid for representing the Speaker in his personal financial matter. The sooner that is disclosed, the better."