Lawmakers Go Missing Before Real ID Votes

Image Credit: Alpha News MN/Preya Samsundar

MOUNDS VIEW, Minn — MN Republican activists continue to express a growing concern over lawmakers disappearing during important votes in the Minnesota Legislature.

Twila Brase, President of the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom and Jake Duesenberg, President of Action4Liberty shared those concerns with a group of Tea Party activists at the Mermaid Lounge in Mounds View, Thursday night.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have mysteriously disappeared in Committee hearings where “no votes” could halt Real ID legislation according to Brase and Duesenberg.

Brase recounted to the group details surrounding the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Policy and Finance Committee.

Sen. Dan Schoen (D-St. Paul) and Sen. Bruce Anderson (R-Buffalo) were both “marked present” at the beginning of a committee hearing on February 8, however, both disappeared right before a vote was called. Neither returned to the Committee hearing. Both Schoen and Anderson have been opponents of Real ID and were expected to vote no.

You can view Brase’s recount of the committee hearing and a statement from Jake Duesenberg in full in the video below.

Alpha News reached out to Schoen and Anderson’s office. Neither returned our request for comment.

The disappearance of lawmakers during key votes is not limited to the Senate. Key votes for Real ID have also mysteriously disappeared from House committees.

On January 10, the House Civil Law Committee heard Real ID. Rep. Eric Lucero (R-Dayton) and Rep. Cindy Pugh (R- Chanhassen) never showed up to committee.

On January 11, the House Transportation and Regional Governance Policy met to approve Real ID. Rep. Cal Bahr (R-East Bethel) was present at the beginning of the meeting but disappeared before the vote.

All of the legislators who went missing have also been strong opponents of Real ID and were expected to vote no. If they had not disappeared, Real ID would have failed.

Alpha News reached out via email to the lawmakers involved, they did not return our request for comment.

Brase and Duesenberg have heard from lawmakers at the Capitol. Both shared similar stories with Alpha News. According to allegations made by Brase, lawmakers have gone missing due to threats made by House Leadership. Alpha News has reached out to House Speaker Kurt Daudt’s office and Sen. Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake)  to discuss the allegations from Brase and Duesenberg, however, neither returned our request for comment.

Katie Fulkerson with the Senate Republican Caucus returned a phone call from Alpha News to discuss her displeasure with the investigation of the claims. Fulkerson told Alpha News “these are serious allegations.” Fulkerson demanded the name of sources who have disclosed information to Brase, Duesenberg, and Alpha News. Fulkerson called Brase and Duesenberg unreliable sources who did not work at the Capitol.  

Fulkerson stated while she couldn’t speak to House members and a Democrat leaving during committee, there are many reasons why a member would leave committee and miss a vote. For instance, a lawmaker could go to the bathroom.

Fulkerson said there was no evidence and the allegations were mere speculation based off of unreliable sources.

The State Government committee is expected to hold a hearing on Real ID in the next few weeks. The Real ID bill is currently waiting on the House Floor for a vote.

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.