Senator Erin Maye Quade Statement on Senate Ethics Subcommittee Action   

Resolution of Senator Gruenhagen Complaint Falls Short

ST. PAUL, Minn. — On Wednesday, May 8, the Senate Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct approved a resolution regarding a complaint by Senator Erin Maye Quade(DFL-Apple Valley) against Senator Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe). 

On April 19, 2023, Senator Maye Quade made a complaint in response to an unsolicited email that Senator Gruenhagen sent to all members of the Minnesota Senate, which included a link to videos or images of genitalia described by Senator Gruenhagen in the email as “extremely graphic and disturbing” and belonging to “minor children.” On May 8, 2024, the subcommittee members unanimously approved a resolution that Sen. Gruenhagen should receive instruction by Republican leaders on how to appropriately email his Senate colleagues.

Senator Maye Quade releases the following statement on the resolution:

“I am disappointed in the resolution on my complaint against Senator Gruenhagen. I asked the Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct to draw a clear line for this body and resolve that members of the Minnesota Senate should not email links to images of genitalia to other members. The issue at hand is not about what one person or another finds offensive. It must be true that, no matter how strongly any Senator feels about any topic, it is a violation of our Senate ethics for a member to send images of genitals to other members. 

“Throughout his sworn testimony, Senator Gruenhagen demonstrated a misunderstanding not only of gender affirming care, but of the legislation he said his email related to, HF 146. This knowledge gap, among other things, is why I requested that Senator Gruenhagen complete a training on LGBTQIA+ sensitivity approved by, or contracted by, the Minnesota Council on LGBTQIA2S+ Minnesotans.

“The subcommittee arrived at this resolution after multiple motions by the Republican members to dismiss the complaint entirely. I appreciate my DFL colleagues for arriving at a compromise that acknowledges, on some level, that Senator Gruenhagen’s conduct was inappropriate. However, the halfway point between accountability and denial does not deliver justice. Instructing one member on their manner of sending emails, as the resolution requires, will not solve the problem at hand, which is that members of this body feel that their opinions on a subject justify sending images that they describe as graphic and disturbing — images they say include ‘minor children’ — to other members. Senator Gruenhagen himself admitted that sending a similarly graphic video with the intent to inform members on a different subject — Black maternal mortality outcomes — would be unacceptable. I am disappointed by this resolution, which sets the precedent that members may send explicit, graphic images to one another, so long as they profess that it is in support of their beliefs.”

A copy of Senator Maye Quade’s ethics complaint is attached.

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Senator Erin Maye Quade represents Senate District 56 which includes Apple Valley, Eagan, and Rosemount. She is vice chair of the Education Policy Committee, and serves on the Education Finance Committee, Human Services Committee, and the State and Local Government and Veterans Committee.
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