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Letter: Eken says attack against him by fellow senator was 'flat-out lie'

Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen recently made blatantly false statements in a letter to the editor attacking me and my position on Real I.D.

I opposed Ingebrigtsen's preferred version of Real I.D. because I had concerns it did not adequately protect the privacy rights of Minnesota citizens.

Sen. Ingebrigtsen wrote that my "stated reason" for voting no was because I "wanted to let illegal immigrants get driver's licenses." He claims this is what I, myself, stated. This is a flat out lie. I have never made any such statement. This real ID bill is not even about undocumented immigrants and my vote had nothing to do with illegal immigrants.

After claiming I made this statement, Sen. Ingebrigtsen went on to say "You read that right. Eken put illegal immigrants ahead of 5 million Minnesotans." Since Ingebrigtsen levels these allegations about my "stated reason" with such certitude, you would think he must have some information or evidence to back up this allegation. However Sen. Ingebrigtsen has none, no information or evidence, because it never happened.

When publically confronted about his dishonest and unethical statements during a session of the full senate, Sen. Ingebrigtsen was silent. He offered no defense of his false statements because they are indefensible. His allegations are completely baseless, completely manufactured, and completely false.

I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support since Sen. Ingebrigtsen was called out on the floor of the Senate. A number of my colleagues in the Senate want to have ethics charges brought against Sen. Ingebrigtsen to ensure no one ever does this again.

What he wrote clearly violates Senate rules on ethics. These rules were written to maintain a positive work environment. Ingebrigtsen's conduct creates a toxic, hyper-partisan environment that destroys the collegiality that is so important for compromise and bipartisan work.

Minnesotans deserve better. Because we are outnumbered, it is especially important for rural members to work together across party lines.

I raise this issue and call out Sen. Ingebrigtsen for these blatantly false statements, not just to defend myself but to also prevent this type of unethical conduct from happening again. We need to work together in a bipartisan way, for the good of all Minnesota.—Sen. Kent Eken, Twin Valley

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