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Welcome to the bigs: new DNR spokesman Niskanen already feeling political heat

In writing about Pioneer Press outdoors editor Chris Niskanen’s move to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, I’ve noted outdoors writers can tee off on a former competitor.
That’s already happening among politicians, according to Politics

In writing about Pioneer Press outdoors editor Chris Niskanen’s move to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, I’ve noted outdoors writers can tee off on a former competitor.

That’s already happening among politicians, according to Politics In Minnesota via its “Confidential” newsletter. PIM is paywalled, but I hope they won’t mind me sharing an interesting excerpt. They talked to St. Paul DFL Rep. Alice Hausman, an environmentalist who isn’t pleased with Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration hiring Niskanen or ex-legislator Bob Lessard:

In Hausman’s view, Lessard — a longtime hunter who runs fishing resorts — will likely work to benefit sportsman groups over others, increasing the already substantial political clout of those interests at the Capitol. She called Niskanen a mouthpiece for the same outdoors groups and the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. Niskanen used the newspaper to go after House members who questioned such groups, she said.

“Now the taxpayers are going to be paying for their offices and their salary,” she said. “It’s a coup that’s complete, and it’s been accomplished right under taxpayer’s noses.”

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In my Wednesday story, Niskanen called moving from journalism to the DNR putting “my big boys pants on.” At least one PiPresser told me that relegating journalism to Underalls didn’t go over well, even if that’s uncharitable to a guy who spent 17 years at the joint. But as Hausman’s comments show, Niskanen will face rhetorical fire from more than his former foxhole.