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Hennepin Co. commissioner voted for contracts tied to wife's law firm

The Star Tribune reports Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin has repeatedly voted for multimillion-dollar trash-disposal agreements tied to the law firm where his wife works — and never disclosed the connection. Minnesota law says that officials taking action on a matter that would “substantially affect the official’s financial interests or those of an associated business” must submit a written statement describing the nature of the potential conflict of interest to a superior. But the regulations don’t offer many specifics and omit detailed guidance in the case of a spouse’s relationship. “Our statute is very weak,” said Gary Goldsmith, executive director of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

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