The Potluck

Rep. Jim Hagedorn under investigation by House ethics office

By: - September 10, 2021 2:29 pm

Rep. Jim Hagedorn represents Minnesota’s First District.

The U.S. House Ethics Committee announced it is investigating Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who represents Minnesota’s First Congressional District, and three other members for spending and finance-related issues.

According to Roll Call, the cases were investigated by the nonpartisan, fact-finding Office of Congressional Ethics, which concluded there was a substantial reason to believe a violation occurred. The OCE is an independent outside body that investigates allegations of wrongdoing and makes recommendations to the Ethics Committee but cannot discipline members or issue subpoenas. 

Although the committee’s announcement didn’t specify what Hagendorn is being investigated for, Roll Call cited the Reformer’s 2020 investigation, which found his office spent a large amount of money on printing and mailing, including more than $100,000 on a company owned by one of his staff members, John Sample. His office had spent another $340,000 with Abernathy West, a company that was created in August 2019 and does not disclose its owners.

A Hagedorn spokesman said in a statement to Roll Call that Hagedorn personally self-reported the matter to the Ethics Committee last year and will continue working to bring it to “an appropriate conclusion.” But he added, “The fact that the OCE, which provides non-binding recommendations to the Ethics Committee, decided to investigate something that was already under review was a waste of taxpayer funds and House resources.”

The Ethics Committee said it will make another announcement on the matter by Oct. 21. The committee noted that a referral or an extension does not indicate a violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee.

Hagedorn has stage four cancer and is married to Jennifer Carnahan, who recently resigned her position as the chair of the Minnesota Republican Party after her friend and major party donor Anton Lazzaro was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges. Lazzaro has pleaded not guilty. 


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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs. Before joining the staff of the Reformer in 2021 she was a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She and her husband have a daughter, son, and very grand child. In her spare time, she likes to play tennis, jog, garden and attempt to check out all the best restaurants in the metro area.