The Potluck

Hagedorn spent another $10,000 on company owned by member of his staff

By: - August 31, 2020 1:43 pm

Rep. Jim Hagedorn represents Minnesota’s First District after a narrow victory in 2018.

WASHINGTON — In the latest revelation of questionable spending, Rep. Jim Hagedorn doled out another $10,000 to a company owned by one of his employees in February, according to records released on Friday.

Invocq Technologies took in $10,431 for printing on February 25, according to congressional spending records for the second quarter or 2020. Although the spending took place in the first quarter, it wasn’t reported until now. The newly disclosed spending means Hagedorn’s office paid the company more than $110,000 since September 2019.

The total level of spending by Hagedorn’s office also puts him on pace to overspend his annual office budget, assuming he keeps spending at the same pace he did in the second quarter of the year, according to Legistorm, a company that tracks congressional spending. If the office does overshoot its allotted budget, Hagedorn is personally responsible for repaying the money.

Hagedorn has been fielding questions and criticism from political opponents and the local press, since the Minnesota Reformer first revealed that the office had been paying a company owned by a member of the staff.  

Experts have said the business arrangement is unethical, because Invocq Technologies is owned by John Sample, who is a part-time employee in Hagedorn’s congressional office. Congressmen are barred from spending money on companies owned by their own staff, according to congressional ethics experts.

The office has also paid more than $300,000 to a company called Abernathy West, which does not disclose its ownership. Hagedorn has so far declined to say who owns the company, except to say he does not own it. In the second quarter of the year, that company did not take in any more money from Hagedorn’s office, according to the records.

The spending records also confirm Hagedorn’s statement that he fired his chief of staff, Peter Su, in June. Su was paid through June 19. Hagedorn said he fired Su because he was not getting enough in return for the spending. The firing would have come just more than a week after Legistorm first reported that Hagedorn had spent roughly 40% of his annual budget in the first quarter of the year. 

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Daniel Newhauser
Daniel Newhauser

Daniel Newhauser is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. His work has appeared in the Atlantic, Roll Call, VICE, National Journal and several other publications.