Minnesota’s Democratic Senate Majority Leader Arraigned
ST. PAUL (AP) _ State Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe was arraigned Wednesday on charges he told employees to use state equipment for campaign work, which was also done on state time.
Moe, a Democrat, entered no plea to the two charges.
A criminal investigation began when a secretary complained she was forced to do campaign work on state time, then fired after she filed the complaint.
Mary Hennessy filed a civil lawsuit under the state’s ``whistleblower″ law seeking damages of more than $50,000. She said Moe’s office used state employee services for campaign work from 1987 to 1996.
The state Ethical Practices Board recently supported Hennessy’s allegation and found that Moe’s office used state equipment for campaign work.
Moe countered that if what he did is considered criminal, the courts would be full of lawsuits from disgruntled former employees. Moe, a 25-year veteran of the Senate, is the longest-serving majority leader in state history.
Senate Minority Leader Dean Johnson said he would not immediately ask for Moe’s resignation.
``Roger certainly deserves to have his day in court to be able to call his witnesses and tell his story,″ Johnson said. If convicted, however, he should step down, Johnson said.
Also Wednesday, Moe’s top aide, Vic Moore, pleaded innocent to similar charges, and his secretary Pamela Schutt entered no plea on a related charge.
All the counts are misdemeanors and each carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.