Legislator raises fresh concerns over Sen. Hoffman’s apparent ‘self-serving conflicts’

Republican Rep. Elliott Engen released a statement Wednesday night elaborating on his concerns. 

Rep. Elliott Engen, R-White Bear Township, confronts Sen. John Hoffman, DFL-Champlin, during a joint committee hearing Wednesday. (Minnesota Senate Media Services/YouTube)

A Democratic state senator was caught off guard during a committee hearing Wednesday when a Republican colleague pressed him on his alleged ties to a competitor of a company that is now under state investigation.

Minnesota Department of Human Services Inspector General Kulani Moti confirmed during that hearing the “existence of an ongoing investigation regarding Kyros and [partner organization] Refocus Recovery.” Kyros is a provider of peer addiction recovery services and has faced significant scrutiny from KARE 11 for its questionable billing practices.

“DHS has been conducting this investigation for months and was aware of concerns prior to media scrutiny,” Moti told lawmakers Wednesday.

Also during that hearing, Rep. Elliott Engen, R-White Bear Township, drew attention to Sen. John Hoffman’s, DFL-Champlin, alleged ties to a company called Pathfinder Solutions, which also provides peer recovery services.

Hoffman chairs the powerful Senate Human Services Committee where Wednesday’s joint hearing took place and has called for investigations into Kyros in various media interviews while speaking as a state senator.

Hoffman never directly responded to Engen during the committee hearing and his line of questioning was called “out of order” by one of Hoffman’s Democratic allies. Engen told Alpha News he never received a response from Hoffman after the hearing, either.

“It was glossed over as if my question was somehow irresponsible, not the obvious self-serving conflicts of interest he (Hoffman) engaged in,” Engen said.

The freshman Republican then released a statement Wednesday night elaborating on his concerns.

“Pathfinder Solutions was founded by David Wellstone, Rick Kahn, and Joe Morris. Begin Anew is the non-profit organization where Chairman John Hoffman sat on the board with Joe Morris and served as the executive director. Rick Kahn is listed as Begin Anew’s principal officer of the organization in IRS tax filings from 2019-2020,” he said.

Hoffman no longer appears on Begin Anew’s website but his name is listed as the registered agent on a business filing with the Secretary of State’s Office. Hoffman’s LinkedIn page says he was executive director of Begin Anew from August 2021 to December 2022.

In his 2022 reelection bid, Hoffman appears to have received a $1,000 donation from Wellstone.

Then, “during the most recent legislative session, Hoffman steered $3 million to the White Earth tribe for a digital therapy tool developed by Pathfinder,” Engen explained.

“White Earth owns eight percent of Pathfinder. I am calling on Chair Hoffman to immediately make clear why none of this information was disclosed during the 2023 legislative session,” he said.

Hoffman is no stranger to these types of questions. In 2017, Hoffman faced scrutiny when MinnPost reported that he sponsored a proposal that set aside grant money for a small number of organizations working with people with disabilities. Hoffman worked for a nonprofit that qualified for the funding.

Hoffman and the Senate DFL Caucus did not respond to Alpha News’ request for comment.


Anthony Gockowski

Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.