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No probable cause

While not agreeing with the comments of Rep. Arlon Lindner (R-Corcoran), the House Ethics Committee refused to find probable cause for a violation against him April 24.

The 2-2 party-line vote means the committee's inquiry is now over.

If probable cause would have been found, Lindner could have faced a penalty ranging from censure to expulsion.

On the House floor March 10, Lindner reiterated his belief that homosexuals may not have been persecuted during the Nazi Holocaust. He is also the sponsor of a bill (HF341) that would remove sexual orientation as a protected class under the state Human Rights Act and in other statutory provisions. On the floor he said that he did not want to "wait until America becomes another African continent" in regards to HIV/AIDS.

A complaint filed by eight DFLers said that Lindner's conduct "violates accepted norms of House behavior" and that his comments "bring the House into dishonor or disrepute."

"While I don't agree with what he said, I believe he has the right to say it even if we find it offensive," said Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston)." If we do censure, one of my concerns is where does it stop?"

Rep. Tom Pugh (DFL-St. Paul) said that Lindner's comments did cause harm both locally and nationally. "I don't think we have to sit back and be silent when his comments angered most Minnesotans," he said.

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