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Monday, July 16, 2007

Rep Mark Olson May Face Discipline in the House


The Republican minority leader of the Minnesota House says he thinks a bipartisan ethics complaint should be filed against Rep. Mark Olson, R-Big Lake.

Olson was convicted last week of one count of misdemeanor domestic assault against his wife. He was acquitted on a second misdemeanor assault charge.

House Republicans suspended Olson from their caucus shortly after his arrest last November.

House Minority Leader Marty Seifert of Marshall said on Monday that Olson has brought disrepute to the Legislature. Seifert says the House Ethics Committee should look into the matter and recommend disciplinary action.

"He has said in no uncertain terms he's not going to resign. And unless you have a two-third vote to remove him, there's no way that's going to happen," Seifert said. "So I think the more appropriate way is to have the Ethics Committee look into an appropriate reprimand."

Seifert says he plans to talk soon with DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher about a bipartisan complaint against Olson. He says the ethics panel won't meet until lawmakers return for the 2008 session.

His district chair is standing behind him.

Olson has insisted he will not resign and he has the support of the Republican chair of his legislative district. Paul Vollkommer,chair of House District 16B, says he may encourage Olson to run again.

"Mark's an excellent representative in the Legislature and we'll have to take it from here to see where he wants to go. I haven't heard from him on whether he wants to run again or not run again," he said. Olson's sentencing is set for August 8.

Will he get challenged for endorsement? Will the local BPOU endorse him again?