State Representative Ernie Leidiger has had an active first term in the legislature. Not in terms of getting legislation passed, because he’s been one of least productive members of the Republican majority in the House, but rather with all the sideshows and distractions that he’s created. Let’s recap the list:
- Invited noted radical anti-gay preacher Bradlee Dean to give the invocation on the floor of the House, then lied about his knowledge of Dean’s views
- Got busted for speeding on the way home from St. Paul, then paid the ticket out of campaign funds — breaking two laws and incurring $800 in penalties
- Has seen his business ventures crumble under the weight of hypocrisy and poor management
- “Got loud” and disrupted a League of Women Voters meeting at a senior center in Waconia
This is unacceptable.
We cannot allow our state representative to flaunt the law in such a brazen manner. As the documents show, Leidiger’s unpaid taxes go back to 2009. I don’t mind paying the taxes that I owe. I do mind it when other people don’t pay their fair share, because that raises my tax burden and the burden of everyone else who plays by the rules. And I really mind it when the people who are cheating on their taxes are elected officials.
As these revelations have come out, one by one by one, the Carver County GOP and State Republican Party have remained silent. With the latest revelation, that time must end. It is time for our local and state Republican officials to say whether they approve of this and if they still stand behind Rep. Leidiger.
While there’s no way to take Rep. Leidiger’s name off the ballot at this point, there are plenty of things local and state Republicans could do to show that they don’t accept Rep. Leidiger’s behavior, either. These include, but are not limited to:
- Voting to remove Leidiger’s endorsement
- Refusing to provide him with any financial or logistical support in his campaign
- Supporting a write-in campaign to supplant him (much like Democrats are doing in Kerry Gauthier’s district)
At the very least, it would be nice to see some prominent local Republicans step forward and publicly say that this is not behavior they condone and values they endorse. Do you stand with Ernie Leidiger? Or do our local Republicans believe that the R behind the name overrides everything?
It’s also time for our local Carver County papers to get off the sidelines. This is an elected official with over $144,000 in unpaid taxes. You have a responsibility to your readers to make this information known, and you are letting them down if you don’t cover this. You also have a responsibility to put local Republicans on the record — do they defend this behavior?
Who is willing to stand with Ernie Leidiger? It’s time to find out.
[edit: small changes for clarification]