Rep. John Thompson, DFL-St. Paul. speaks on the Minnesota House floor on June 29.


Embattled Democrat agrees to House floor apology, settling GOP ethics complaint


Rep. John Thompson, DFL-St. Paul, will apologize publicly for calling a Republican colleague a racist during a House floor debate.

Thompson will apologize to Rep. Eric Lucero, R-Dayton, for saying, “I know you’re a racist,” during the tense June 19 special session debate on police reform. The mea culpa will come next time the House convenes, presumably during an expected September special session.

The apology will come per an agreement to dismiss a formal ethics complaint against Thompson signed by Lucero and five other GOP House members. That agreement was announced Friday, during what had been billed as a probable cause hearing on the GOP complaint.

“In pursuit of a resolution of this matter, representatives Lucero and Thompson have agreed to waive further proceedings of this probable cause hearing,” said Rep. Jim Davnie, DFL-Minneapolis, the Ethics Committee chair. “Instead, we are going to move directly to an alternative resolution of this matter.”

Davnie said that, after discussions with the principals, an agreement was reached under which Thompson will voluntarily apologize both to Lucero and to the full body during the next House floor session. The agreement means the complaint will be dismissed, Davnie said.

Attorney Tyler Bliss

Attorney Tyler Bliss

At Friday’s hearing, Thompson verbally agreed to that proposal, though he said nothing else. Lucero agreed, as well, but added that Thompson’s apology will be supplemented by a written statement drafted by Tyler Bliss, Thompson’s Minneapolis attorney.

Bliss’ written statement was not released to the media, but it is expected that it will fully acknowledge the substance of Lucero’s allegation.

The June 29 complaint has no connection to other recent controversies involving the freshman DFL legislator—including several allegations of domestic abuse that came to light after a July 4 traffic stop in St. Paul.

Those allegations led DFL leadership, including Gov. Tim Walz, to call for Thompson’s immediate resignation. To date, however, no other actions—stripping Thompson of his committee assignments, for example—have been taken by House leaders.

No other formal ethics complaints have been filed related to Thompson’s conduct, either.

Thompson has resisted all demands that he resign.


Session/Law logo by Kirk Anderson