Moe investigation complete, decision pending

ST. PAUL (AP) — Indictments were likely, although who and why was a secret after a grand jury completed its investigation Tuesday into activities in Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe’s office.
The grand jury was considering whether Moe, DFL-Erskine, and his top aide forced a staff member to perform campaign work on state time.
County attorney spokesman John Wodele declined to comment after the daylong closed hearing. Moe’s attorney said he had not been notified of an indictment.
But had there been no indictment, officials would have said so.
Officials cannot comment on indictments or their contents until the targets are officially notified by the court.
The investigation stemmed from a complaint filed by Mary Hennessy, a longtime employee in Moe’s office. She alleged in January that Moe and his top aide, Vic Moore, ordered her to do political fund raising on state time.
Hennessy said Moe’s office used state employee services for campaign work from 1987 to 1996.
She testified Tuesday for a couple of hours, but did not comment as she left.
Moe testified for about an hour and a half.
“I did what I was supposed to do,” he said. “I told the truth.”
In response to a question of whether he would resign, Moe said, “Absolutely not. I don’t intend to.”
He had no further comment, but his attorney, Alan Weinblatt, said a grand jury investigation was an improper place to consider the complaint against Moe and his office.
“If it’s an ethical issue, it doesn’t belong here,” Weinblatt said.
The dispute is over the interpretation of the campaign statute, which could be handled by asking the state attorney general for his opinion, Weinblatt said.
Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner disagreed, saying the attorney general had no jurisdiction over the election laws being considered by the grand jury.
“It is our responsibility to decide what the applicable laws are when a complaint is brought before us,” she said.
Also testifying before the panel was Sen. Phil Riveness, DFL-Bloomington.
Riveness said that two years ago he gave to Moore the draft of a letter encouraging DFLers to donate $50 apiece into a campaign fund.
“It ended up on a state computer,” Riveness said.
Moore did not testify. His attorney, Kevin Short, refused to comment.
Moe has said that staffers who did campaign work did so voluntarily. He also has said Hennessy’s allegations were motivated by money.
Hennessy, who is now employed by another DFL senator, also filed a civil suit under the state’s “whistle-blower” law seeking damages of more than $50,000.
The state Ethical Practices Board recently supported Hennessy’s allegation and also found that Moe’s office used state equipment for campaign work.