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Hackbarth suspended from leadership

After St. Paul police seized the permitted but loaded gun from Rep. Tom Hackbarth (R-Cedar) GOP Speaker-designate Kurt Zellers released this statement:

Due to an incident on Tuesday, November 16, State Representative Tom Hackbarth has been suspended from any current and pending leadership roles within the House GOP Caucus.

The suspension will remain in effect until the issue is fully resolved.

The eight term legislator was slated to chair the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee.  One lawmaker suggested to me that Hackbarth’s computer might be swept to see if any state property was used inappropriately.  That could result in ethics charges.  

Here’s some of the Pioneer Press’ reporting on the original incident:

Officers at the scene, however, suspected him of “stalking-like behavior” and borderline “harassment or terroristic threats,” so they hung on to his weapon, reports state.

“What did I do that was so bad?” he asked a reporter during an interview Tuesday. “According to me, all I did was go to an empty parking lot and parked my truck … walked around the block, and picked up the car and left.”

Hackbarth said he had no idea he was parking in a Planned Parenthood parking lot. A gun-rights advocate, he said he usually carries his revolver on him and emphasized that’s perfectly legal.

The 58-year-old married father of three said he and his wife are separated and planning to divorce. He said the woman, whom he met through an online dating service, “wasn’t even a girlfriend” and said his description to police that he was “jealous” wasn’t accurate.

The rest of their story here.

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