Monday, December 11
Broadcast job not ruled a conflict of interest
 
 Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Gov. Jesse Ventura's new broadcast job with the XFL does not pose a conflict of interest, a Minnesota official ruled Monday.

"There are no issues concerning the XFL that would affect the governor's independence of judgment in the exercise of his official duties," said Julien Carter, the state's commissioner of employee relations.

Jesse Ventura
Jesse Ventura has shown himself to be a sports fan while serving as Minnesota governor.

Carter determined Ventura is not a state employee who must abide by a prescribed code of ethics. Carter said he would have found no conflicts even if Ventura were classified an employee.

Carter's ruling comes in response to a complaint by environmental activist Leslie Davis, who argued that Ventura was using his position to secure benefits not available to the public. Davis said he has no immediate plans to pursue court action.

Several lawmakers made similar accusations after learning Ventura signed a one-year contract to work XFL games on NBC from February to mid-April.

"It's hard for the employee to call the boss on the carpet," State Sen. John Marty said.

Carter cited Ventura's broadcast work before his election in 1998 as qualification for the job. He said he found "no facts that would indicate that the governor is using his official position" improperly.

Ventura has done radio commentary for the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Minnesota Vikings.

Carter added there is no conflict because the state does not regulate or do business with the XFL, a joint venture of NBC and the World Wrestling Federation.

Carter disagreed with a November opinion by Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch that the governor is a state employee. Carter said the law Hatch used to determine Ventura's classification was ambiguous.

A spokeswoman for Hatch said the attorney general stands by his interpretation.

Ventura has said that it is up to voters at election time to determine whether his actions are improper. He has not said whether he will seek a second term.
 


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