Following a ruling from the Senate Ethics Committee, freshman Republican Sen. Gretchen Hoffman has sent a written apology to DFL Sen. Barb Goodwin for a tweet she sent out in the midst of a heated health and human services debate last session.
“This letter is intended to be the written apology from me to you indicated by the Minnesota Senate Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct in its resolution of June 13, 2011,” Hoffman wrote. “I am certainly sorry for my own misunderstanding of what you said and how I subsequently handled it. I am sure you share my unhappiness that this matter was not resolved between us on the floor on May 18, 2011, when the underlying incident occurred.”
Hoffman angered DFLers when she posted to her Twitter account that Goodwin had “just called people with mental illness- idiots and imbeciles- while debating HHS bill” on the floor in May. Goodwin was referencing the fact that state institutions for those with mental illness used to be called “institutions for idiots, imbeciles, and the insane,” and asked Hoffman to apologize on the floor. Hoffman did not, and DFL Sen. Ann Rest filed an ethics complaint with the committee in the final days of the regular session.
The ethics committee ruled Monday that Hoffman must send Goodwin a written apology, remove the original tweet and post a link to the ethics committee report on her Twitter account. Hoffman removed the tweet from her account, but further angered DFLers by closing her old account and tweeting the report link on a new account with no followers.