Republicans want review of Chaudhary’s Fish Lake actionsSen. Satveer Chaudhary pushed legislation that would force the Department of Natural Resources to impose some new regulation on Fish Lake, where he has a cabin, to promote more large walleyes starting next year. No hearings or public input were held.
Republicans in the Minnesota Senate have called for a review of the actions of DFL Sen. Satveer Chaudhary for his role in pushing legislation to change fishing regulations on Fish Lake near Duluth.
The Republicans sent a letter today to Sen. Jim Metzen, DFL-South St. Paul, who is chairman of the Rules and Administration Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct, “seeking clarity about a potential conflict of interest.’’
The letter raises questions about Chaudhary’s intentions when he pushed legislative language requiring the establishment of special walleye regulations on Fish Lake, where Chaudhary owns a cabin.
The News Tribune first reported Tuesday that Chaudhary pushed legislation that would force the Department of Natural Resources to impose some new regulation on the lake to promote more large walleyes starting next year.
The DNR wasn’t aware of the change and no hearings or public input were held on the proposal.
The Republican letter of inquiry also seeks clarity of Chaudhary’s compliance of Minnesota’s Conflict of Interest Law and the Senate Rule regarding conflicts of interest.
“It is not clear that Sen. Chaudhary abided by conflict of interest and full disclosure laws,” said Senator David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, in a statement. “However, the intention of our letter of inquiry is to seek an opinion from the Senate Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct if there has been an infraction by Sen. Chaudhary.”
The letter “requests an advisory recommendation from the Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct into whether a conflict of interest exists when legislation is perused by a member that would benefit the value of that member’s personal real estate holdings.”
Chaudhary, chairman of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, said Monday that he was advancing a request of St. Louis County Commissioner Dennis Fink that there be special regulations to help promote more big fish for anglers. Chaudhary convinced Rep. Dave Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, to officially insert the language into a conference committee report of the Omnibus Fish and Game Bill that later passed.
On Tuesday Chaudhary said he regretted the hasty decision to push the legislation.
“Obviously, I have complete and utter egg on my face,” Chaudhary told the News Tribune Tuesday, saying he was led to believe that Fish Lake area anglers and residents wanted the change and that he should have held back and investigated the move before acting.
Chaudhary is hosting an impromptu public meeting tonight to discuss the new law starting at 7 p.m. at Hi Banks Resort on Fish Lake.