Is Payment of Legislative Per Diem Warranted?

When the DFL regained control the legislature in 2009 discussions about the increases in per diem commenced.  Questions over legislative compensation often have become fodder for debate and political campaigns. As is often the case Checks & Balances is not concerned with matters of due compensation for just work, but is interested in situations where public officials may overstep their bounds or show levels of hypocrisy.
We noticed a number of legislators were absent multiple times this legislative session and we wondered if they were collecting per diem when not present for a floor session. The floor session attendance is the only way we were able to determine absences because legislators do not have to punch a time clock and legislative committees, which take attendance do not meet every day.
When we contacted the House Controller Jim Reinholdz we learned there are many fashion in which House members receive per diem.
Some members receive  per diem seven days a week, others not on Sunday, some not on the weekends or on holidays and others specify certain dates which they will not receive any payments, while some others take no per diem at all.
The person with the highest number of excused absences in 2013 with 21 was Rep. Linda Slocum (DFL-50A, Richfield). We spoke with Slocum and learned she had knee replacement surgery in 2013 and other than the week of her surgery she was doing constituent work at home while recuperating.
Slocum takes per diem seven days a week.
Rep. Mark Anderson (R-09A, Lake Shore) has the second highest amount with 19 excused absences. We have contacted Anderson numerous times for clarification and he has failed to response to our inquires. Two other facts worth noting are Anderson missed the Special Session and votes on issues important  to his district including the Bonding Bill, which contained funding for Central Lakes College.
We know he is in the process of building a new brewery business and is known to be a private pilot. We would be interested in reviewing his flight records and seeing if the absences listed coincide with private plane flights. If so, then the citizen’s of Minnesota may be paying compensation during private business transactions.
Anderson a self-described Conservative, takes per diem seven days a week.
When we noted other absences and found retiring member Rep. David FitzSimmons (R-30B, St Michael) had 18 excused absences over the course of the 2013-14 session.  FitzSimmons failed to secure Republican endorsement and is now the Campaign Manager for 6th Congressional Candidate Tom Emmer (R). FitzSimmons failed to return our call on this matter.
Another retiring member is Rep. Andrea Kieffer (R-53B, Woodbury). She has the fourth highest numbers of excused absences with 14 for 2013-14, we understand she is moving to Texas and we have not spoken with her on this matter.
Kieffer does not receive per diem on Sundays.
Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-58B, Farmington) had the fifth most excused absences with 12 during 2013-14. We spoke with him regarding this matter and he said during a portion of the 2014 he attended a ALEC Conference, the Conservative organization American Legislative Exchange Council, which produces “model legislation.”  He also admitted that occurred at the beginning of the week and he was needed for system repair for the rest of the week.
Garofalo also a Conservative, takes per diem seven days a week
Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-53B, Inver Grove Heights) in sixth place having 9 excused absences during the 2013-14 legislative session. We spoke with him and he cross-referenced each instance with his calendar. He during noted one block of time we inquired, he attended the Conference of Insurance Legislators. On another in which he was listed as absent from the floor he had attended a Ways and Means Committee, so believes he was present.
Atkins takes per diem seven days a week.
We have include links to the House Journal for the dates in question.
Thursday, May 15, 2014 Anderson, M., and Kieffer were excused.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 Anderson, M.; Beard; FitzSimmons and Kieffer were excused
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 Kelly, Lesch and Newberger were excused.
Monday, May 12, 2014 FitzSimmons, Kiel and McDonald were excused.
Friday, May 9, 2014 Abeler, Beard, FitzSimmons, Fritz, Holberg and Ward, J.E., were excused.
Thursday, May 8, 2014 FitzSimmons was excused.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 FitzSimmons, Hamilton and Hilstrom were excused.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 Allen, FitzSimmons, Holberg, McDonald and Scott were excused.
Monday, May 5, 2014
Friday, May 2, 2014 Abeler; Albright; Anderson, M.; FitzSimmons; Garofalo; Hoppe; Howe; Mack; McDonald; Moran; Petersburg; Scott and Thissen were excused.
Thursday, May 1, 2014 FitzSimmons, Garofalo, Kieffer and Moran were excused.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 Garofalo and Moran were excused.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 FitzSimmons, Garofalo, Kieffer, Leidiger, O’Neill and Woodard were excused.
Monday, April 28, 2014 Daudt; Erickson, S.; Falk; FitzSimmons; Garofalo; Gruenhagen; Melin; Newberger; O’Neill; Quam and Zellers were excused.
Friday, April 25, 2014 Abeler; Anderson, M.; Erickson, S.; Franson; Garofalo; Hoppe, McDonald and Zellers were excused.
Thursday, April 24, 2014 Anderson, M., and FitzSimmons were excused.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 Anderson, M.; FitzSimmons and Kieffer were excused.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 Howe and McDonald were excused.
Thursday, April 10, 2014 Kieffer was excused.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 Paymar, Pelowski and Woodard were excused.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 Atkins and Woodard were excused.
Monday, April 7, 2014 Atkins was excused.
Friday, April 4, 2014 Benson, M.; Dehn, R.; Lesch; McDonald; Scott; Simon and Zerwas were excused.
Thursday, April 3, 2014 Lesch and Simon were excused.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 Atkins, Kelly, Kieffer, Leidiger, Sawatzky, Simon and Zellers were excused.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 Abeler; Anderson, M.; Atkins; Gruenhagen; Hoppe; Howe; Kieffer; Lohmer; Mack; McDonald; O’Neill; Persell; Sanders and Zellers were excused.
Monday, March 31, 2014 Leidiger, Lohmer and Persell were excused.
Friday, March 28, 2014 eler; Anderson, P.; Barrett; Davids; Dean, M.; FitzSimmons; Green; Gruenhagen; Hamilton; Hilstrom; Hoppe; Kelly; Kresha; Lohmer; Mack; Melin; Murphy, E.; Newberger; Petersburg; Quam; Swedzinski; Thissen; Torkelson; Wagenius; Ward, J.E., and Zellers were excused.
Thursday, March 27, 2014 Dean, M.; Kelly; Melin and Wagenius were excused.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Monday, March 24, 2014
Friday, March 21, 2014 Anderson, M.; Beard; Kieffer; Sanders and Woodard were excused.
Thursday, March 20, 2014 Woodard and Zellers were excused.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 Anderson, M.; Hackbarth and Mack were excused.
Monday, March 17, 2014 Clark, Hilstrom, Hoppe, Kieffer and Radinovich were excused.
Thursday, March 13, 2014 Erickson, R.; FitzSimmons; Mariani and Zellers were excused.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 Atkins, Erhardt, FitzSimmons, Hackbarth, Kieffer, Lillie, McDonald, Metsa, Persell and Schoen were excused.
Monday, March 10, 2014 Atkins, FitzSimmons, Hackbarth, Hansen, Nornes, O’Driscoll, Persell and Sundin were excused.
Thursday, March 6, 2014 Atkins; Hamilton; Hilstrom; Lesch and Mack were excused.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 Hoppe, Kelly, Mack, Morgan and Zerwas were excused.
Monday, March 3, 2014 FitzSimmons, Hamilton, Hilstrom, Savick, Simon and Zellers were excused.
Thursday, February 27, 2014 Abeler, FitzSimmons, Hamilton, Pugh and Savick were excused.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 Franson was excused.
Subsequent Proceedings 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013 Franson, McDonald and Slocum were excused.
Friday, May 10, 2013 Anderson, P.; Hausman; Lohmer and Runbeck were excused.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Monday, May 6, 2013 Barrett was excused.
Friday, May 3, 2013 Dill, Gunther, Norton and Petersburg were excused.
Thursday, May 2, 2013 Anderson, M.; Clark; Dill; Kelly; Loon; Mullery and Petersburg were excused.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 Loon, Mack, Mullery, Petersburg and Woodard were excused.
Monday, April 29, 2013 Dill; Petersburg; Ward, J.E., and Woodard were excused.
Friday, April 26, 2013 Albright, Dill, Garofalo, Kresha, McDonald, O’Driscoll and Savick were excused.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 Dean, M., was excused.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
Saturday, April 20, 2013 Garofalo; Hertaus; Johnson, B., and Theis were excused.
Friday, April 19, 2013 Dill, Garofalo, Slocum and Theis were excused.
Thursday, April 18, 2013 Dill, Garofalo and Theis were excused.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 Anderson, M., and Marquart were excused.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 Dettmer and Hilstrom were excused.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Thursday, April 11, 2013 Anderson, M.; Kieffer and Lesch were excused.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 Dill, Mack and Pelowski were excused.
Monday, April 8, 2013 Garofalo was excused.
Thursday, April 4, 2013 Falk, Pelowski and Persell were excused.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013 Erhardt, Newberger and Slocum were excused.
Thursday, March 21, 2013 Anderson, M.; Freiberg; Hackbarth; Mariani and Slocum were excused.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 Dill, Hackbarth, Mack, Slocum and Zellers were excused.
Monday, March 18, 2013 Dill, Hackbarth, Kelly, Loon, Mack and Slocum were excused.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 Erickson, S.; Slocum; Torkelson and Woodard were excused.
Monday, March 11, 2013 Beard, Cornish, Metsa and Slocum were excused.
Thursday, March 7, 2013 Anderson, M.; Davids; Holberg; Huntley; Mariani and Slocum were excused.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 Anderson, M.; Davids and Holberg were excused.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 Cornish, Davids, Davnie, Dill, Erhardt, Loeffler, Mariani, McDonald, McNamara, Slocum, Thissen, Wagenius and Zellers were excused.
Monday, March 4, 2013 Davids, McNamara and Slocum were excused.
Thursday, February 28, 2013 Abeler, Allen, Melin, Schomacker, Scott and Slocum were excused.
Monday, February 25, 2013 Hackbarth, Melin, Sanders, Schomacker and Slocum were excused.
Thursday, February 21, 2013 Beard, Fritz, Hackbarth, Holberg, Isaacson, McDonald, Melin, Sanders and Slocum were excused.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 Hoppe, Melin, Slocum and Zellers were excused.
Monday, February 18, 2013 Anderson, M.; Hackbarth; Mack and Slocum were excused.
Thursday, February 14, 2013 Kresha, Paymar and Slocum were excused.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 Anderson, M.; Beard; Bly; Kresha; Mack; Masin; Slocum and Zellers were excused.
Monday, February 11, 2013 Slocum was excused.
Thursday, February 7, 2013 Hackbarth, Lesch, McDonald, Slocum and Zellers were excused.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 Allen, Clark, Garofalo, Hackbarth, Hilstrom, Holberg, Kieffer, McDonald, Peppin, Simon and Slocum were excused.
Monday, February 4, 2013 Erickson, R.; Mariani and Yarusso were excused.
Thursday, January 31, 2013 Anderson, M.; Anzelc; Kelly and Yarusso were excused.
Monday, January 28, 2013 Barrett, Hamilton, Holberg and McNamar were excused.
Thursday, January 24, 2013 Falk, Hoppe, Hornstein, Mullery, Newton and Thissen were excused.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 Anzelc, Atkins, Dill, Falk, FitzSimmons, Hansen, Kahn and Runbeck were excused.
Thursday, January 17, 2013 Erickson, R.; Hamilton; Hilstrom and Kahn were excused.
Monday, January 14, 2013 Atkins, Huntley, Moran and Scott were excused.
Thursday, January 10, 2013 Anzelc, Bernardy, Clark, Hilstrom, Lesch, Mullery, O’Driscoll and Peppin were excused.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Special Session
Monday, September 9, 2013 Anderson, M.; Beard; Dill; Erhardt; Kieffer and Morgan were excused.

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