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Editorial: Sviggum should remove this conflict

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Minnesotan Steve Sviggum needs to make a choice between his two jobs: University of Minnesota Regent or his position with the state Senate.

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Two legal opinions issued this week said that there is a "fundamental, systemic clash" between his duties as a regent and in his communications director job for the Senate Republican Caucus.

A three-regent committee will review legal opinions today before making a recommendation to the full regent board. The committee should recommend the board rule this to be a conflict.

As a regent and all the appropriate training regents receive, Sviggum should recognize the conflict. Unfortunately, he does not recognize the conflict.

In fact, he still believes that the positions are not a conflict and that the legal opinions are wrong.

Unfortunately, this is the second time Sviggum caused a conflict of interest question for the regents. Sviggum decided to resign his position as a legislative fellow at the university's Humphrey School of Public Affair in April, after the board told him HE had to choose.

Sviggum should look no further than the recent politic gaffe where he took the blame for using public funds to print campaign materials for some GOP senators, including Sen. Joe Gimse, Willmar.

As a former legislative leader and as a regent, Sviggum should know enough to avoid bringing a conflict of interest and/or embarrassment to the board.

Sviggum should take the high road himself and not force the board for a second time within a year to tell him to make a choice between two jobs.

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