There was Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, rushing onto the floor of the Minnesota House last Wednesday as legislators were about to approve a complicated fish and game proposal.
Chaudhary kneeled at the desk of Rep. David Dill -- who was presenting the bill at the time -- and whispered an urgent request.
Could Dill quickly insert special language to improve walleye fishing on Fish Lake Reservoir? Although few in the House chamber realized it at the time, Chaudhary owns a cabin on the northeastern Minnesota lake.
Holy conflict of interest, Batman! That does explain why we don't see so much of Chaudhary in the district; he's probably up at his lake place throwing back the puny walleyes he's catching up there. But here's the beauty part — Sen. Chaudhary apparently can't figure out why it's a conflict of interest:
Chaudhary denied he was motivated because he owned a cabin on the lake, where he fishes regularly. "I'm not sure how I benefit from it. I'm not lining my pockets with anything," he said, maintaining he does not have a conflict of interest.
Well, we all know how undersirable lakes are when they have superior walleye fishing. The property values for land on those lakes always lags well behind lakes that have poor fishing. That's pretty much axiomatic, right?
Meanwhile, in the real world, the Star Tribune also helpfully supplies additional career highlights for Our Man in St. Paul:
It is not Chaudhary's first brush with controversy.
Two years ago he was cleared by a Senate ethics panel over allegations that he hosted a cable TV outdoors show and approached Arctic Cat and a carpenters union as possible sponsors. He was backing legislative measures favorable to them at the time. Chaudhary also was sold a snowmobile by Arctic Cat at a discount.
Nothing to see here, of course. Satveer's just a darn good haggler. And besides, ethics are for other people anyway.
It will be interesting to see if the DFL moves to throw Satveer under the bus. It's worth noting that while he's been ostensibly popular in the Fridley/Columbia Heights part of the district, he's not that well regarded in the New Brighton/Arden Hills portion of the district. He got involved in the Northwest Quadrant fiasco in New Brighton when the city was negotiating with Medtronic and then pulled out at a very inopportune moment, which has earned him some genuine ill will among the local leftish politicos in New Brighton. The Republicans have endorsed a highly credible challenger for the seat, New Brighton Councilwoman Gina Bauman, who has earned a reputation in New Brighton as a reformer. Chaudhary looks a lot more vulnerable now and it wouldn't surprise me if he suddenly felt the need to spend a little more time with his family. Or fishing, perhaps.