GOP House Speaker Kurt Daudt said today he is standing by two Republican lawmakers who were issued nuisance citations last week after allegedly "making out" in a parked car at an Eagan park.
Rep. Tim Kelly, of Red Wing, and Rep. Tara Mack, of Apple Valley, have strongly denied the allegations, with Kelly going so far as to call it "an absolute lie."
In an interview, Daudt said he first learned about the allegations yesterday after talking briefly with Mack. He declined to comment on particulars of the case, but said both Kelly and Mack are highly regarded within the House Republican caucus.
"They are members of my caucus and certainly we support them. They are both incredibly talented and vital members of our team," Daudt said.
Kelly is chairman of the House Transportation Policy and Finance Committee and Mack is chairwoman of the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee.
The Pioneer Press reported on Tuesday that Kelly and Mack were issued the citations on Aug. 25 in Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan. The Dakota County sheriff's deputy who issued the citations said in his notes that the two were "making out" in a parked car and that Mack's pants were unzipped and pulled down. Both Kelly and Mack are married to other people.
The two lawmakers have denied the allegation. In a statement, Kelly said when the park ranger initially approached the car he told him he was double-parked. Disagreeing with that, Kelly got out of the car to take a picture. That's when he said the officer "became visibly agitated" and went to his car. He returned and issued them each a nuisance citation. Kelly said he had met Mack in the park to exchange documents.
Both Kelly and Mack have said the officer's statements are false and they plan to file a complaint. The Pioneer Press reported that Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie is standing by the deputy's report.