Senator Kathy Sheran and Representative Terry Morrow today voiced their concern over a critical sex offender program report requested by the Legislature that was edited by high-ranking Pawlenty appointee, Cal Ludeman prior to its release.
“Last session, legislators asked the Pawlenty administration for a report on the state’s sex offender program and possible cost containment measures,” Rep. Morrow said. “Unfortunately the report was heavily and secretly edited by then Commissioner Ludeman, who was serving as the Commissioner of Human Services. He was a political appointee and a confidant to the former Governor. This is distressing news.”
Ludeman was recently elected as the Secretary of the State Senate by the new Republican majority.
Based on comparisons to the draft report, Ludeman made 35 redactions in 63 pages, including deletion of complete paragraphs and entire sections. Final recommendations were also deleted from the report. Ludeman notes in a Star Tribune article that the changes were made to reflect the administration’s political philosophy.
“It is clear,” said Sen. Sheran, “that Governor Pawlenty put a political filter between the non-partisan experts in the state agencies and the policymakers that rely on that information to make critical decisions that affect all Minnesotans.”
Included in the provisions deleted were recommendations for sexual violence prevention measures for youth and support programs for parents.
“Commissioner Ludeman’s edits of a report compiled by mental health professionals is nothing more than political censorship,” said Rep. Morrow. “He decided what information he wanted the Legislature to have, and by doing so, tied our hands. We have serious decisions to make that will significantly impact the safety of residents, as well as the state budget. We need, and deserve, full disclosure.”
Sen. Sheran also voiced concern that this discovery has reduced the Legislature’s confidence in Ludeman’s ability to work impartially as the Senate’s Secretary.
“The Secretary of the Senate not only provides advice on official proceedings and legislation, but also is the first contact the public has for information about the body,” Sen. Sheran said. “This is a position of high trust. The information about how the report was handled casts doubt on whether Mr. Ludeman can perform these duties objectively, fairly and in a non-partisan manner. As state lawmakers, we rely on his expertise to professionally serve the people of this state. We need to know that he will work in the best interest of all of us.”