Press Release

Back to Press Section

Ethics Experts, DFL Party Blast Hagedorn Over Ethics Scandals


Hagedorn likely under investigation by House Ethics Committee

St. Paul, MN –  Today, DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin was joined by several experts on ethics in government to criticize Congressman Jim Hagedorn’s clear mismanagement of his office budget and his breaking of House ethics rules. A video of the press conference can be found here.

What They Said:

“The corruption in Congressman Hagedorn’s office is staggering,” said DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin. “Hagedorn has used our tax dollars to prop up his failing campaign and lied about it, broken House ethics rules by using our tax dollars to line the pockets of one of his staff, and there are still so many unanswered questions.

“Jim Hagedorn owes it to the people of Minnesota to come clean, but he won’t,” added Martin. “Instead, Hagedorn has lied to us, tried to deflect blame, and hired a D.C. lawyer who represents crooked politicians. The plain truth is that Jim Hagedorn does not deserve our trust, he does not deserve our support, and he does not deserve to represent the great state of Minnesota in Congress.”

“What Hagedorn has done with his franking privilege is hired Invocq technologies, a company partially owned by a staff member in Hagedorn’s office,” said Craig Holman, an expert in government ethics with Public Citizen. “That is a clear violation of congressional rules and this is clearly on the agenda of the House Ethics Committee. At the very least, I would expect Hagedorn to reimburse the federal treasury for whatever spending was in violation of the rules. However, if Hagedorn was more culpable and knew what was going on, the consequences would be even more severe, including a possible censure from the House of Representatives.”

“The personal corruption in Hagedorn’s office is not surprising because he’s been playing the corrupt game in Washington for a while now,” said Adam Bozzi, the Vice President for Communications for End Citizens United. “Hagedorn wouldn’t be in office without a network of mega-donors and Wall St. bankers and special interests. Hagedorn has taken $140,000 from the pharmaceutical industry and voted against a bill to lower drug prices. He’s taken $230,000 in corporate PAC money and he voted against the Consumer Protection Bureau, which protects people from fraud and abuse from big bankers and payday lenders. Hagedorn has continuously betrayed the trust of Minnesota families and wasted our tax dollars while the economy is reeling. We cannot afford the corruption of Jim Hagedorn.”

The Background on Hagedorn:

During the first 3 months of 2020, Congressman Hagedorn spent as much on franked mail to his district as the average Congressperson spent on their entire office. Hagedorn fired his chief of staff for this “irregular spending” and claimed he had no knowledge of it. However, recent reporting from the Star Tribune shows this to be a lie, and that Hagedorn was involved with the program in which his office sent numerous taxpayer funded, campaign-style mailers to his district.

To make matters worse, the Minnesota Reformer revealed that Hagedorn has spent over $100,000 of our tax dollars on a Texas company, Invocq, that’s partially owned by one of his staffers, John Sample. This is a clear violation of House ethics rules and has likely triggered an investigation into Congressman Hagedorn.

Hagedorn spent an additional $340,000 of our tax dollars on a suspicious company called Abernathy West, which was founded one year ago, has no history of working with members of Congress, and works hard to conceal their ownership. Hagedorn has refused to say who owns Abernathy West or why he works with them.

Lastly, Hagedorn  just hired a prominent Republican lawyer who has previously worked with Congressman who’ve been indicted and convicted on similar charges, including ex-Congressman Duncan Hunter, currently serving 11 months in prison, and Aaron Schock, indicted on 24 criminal counts.

Questions Unanswered by Congressman Hagedorn:

  • Are you under a House ethics investigation?
  • Who owns Abernathy West, the new company you spent almost $340,000 of our tax dollars at and that has worked hard to conceal their ownership?
    • Who made the decision to shift your mail program to Abernathy West?
  • Who made the decision to shift your mail program to Invocq, a company owned by one of your staffers?
    • Why does John Sample, the staffer who owns Invocq, still work for you?
  • Why did you lie about completely delegating your email program to your chief of staff when that was clearly not true?
    • Why did you fire your chief of staff?


Please note that Craig Holman’s appearance at this press conference does not signify an endorsement of any candidate on behalf of Public Citizen.