Skip to Content

Support MinnPost

Ethics complaint filed over GOP Sen. Gretchen Hoffman's tweet about colleague

An ethics complaint has been filed against Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, for a wildly-out-of-context tweet she wrote Saturday evening from the Senate floor.

At the time of Hoffman’s tweet, state senators were debating the Human Services omnibus bill and Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, was bemoaning how cuts in the proposed bill could hurt those with disabilities.

“This is how far we’ve come,’’ Goodwin said. “The way state institutions used to be — they were called ‘Institutions for Idiots, Imbeciles and the Insane.’ ’’

Hoffman, a first-term senator, fired off this tweet: “Sen Goodwin just called people with mental illness-idiots and imbeciles ...’’’

(It should be noted that Michael Brodkorb, communications director for the Senate Republican caucus, re-sent Hoffman’s message to his own twitter followers.)

When Goodwin learned of Hoffman’s message, she was stunned and angry.

“This is not who I am,’’ she said.

She was  eager to hear an apology.

No apology was forthcoming. Hoffman only said she was interested in meeting with Goodwin. She also mentioned in a statement that she is a registered nurse.

“I look forward to sitting down to discusss my concerns,’’ Hoffman had said in her statement.

That opportunity to sit down could now come before an ethics committee.

The complaint was filed today by Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope.

“Senator Hoffman’s public statement falsely described Sen. Goodwin’s actions and comments on the floor of the Minnesota Senate,’’ Rest said in the complaint.  “Sen. Hoffman misled the public by writing and publishing a statement which falsely describes Senator Goodwin as personally using derogatory labels for those with mental illness. ... Sen. Hoffman’s public statement is damaging and misleading with respect to Sen. Goodwin’s position on publicly policy concerns relating to mental illness and those with mental illness.’’

In the complaint, Rest cited Senate rules violated by the Hoffman message.

Get MinnPost's top stories in your inbox

Comments (5)

Thank you, Senator Rest.

Did Sen Hoffman not understand that we all could read the entire sentence in context and see that she was, in effect, lying? Is she really that clueless?

"is she really that clueless?" - Ralf Wyman

Ralf, when you've seen her in action in person, as I have, you'll know the answer is "yep."

The offensive tweet and the equally offensive RT remain on twitter by @mbrodkorb (Michael Brodkorb) and @Gretchenmh Gretchen Hoffman.

It's like Hoffman and Brodkorb don't know that tweets CAN be deleted. And that you can also tweet an apology.

Not a very well thought out tweet! Our legislators should realize that one false statement can come back to bite them. Being a Republican, she should have been coached better by her leadership, who are proficient in double speak and also double entendre.