U of M lawyer: Sviggum has conflict of interest 29 Feb 12

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The top lawyer for the University of Minnesota says Regent Steve Sviggum has a conflict of interest that can’t be resolved while he works for the Senate Republican Caucus.

General Counsel Mark Rotenberg says in a memo that Sviggum has a “fundamental, systemic clash” between his duties as a regent and as chief spokesman for Senate Republicans.

Regents Chairwoman Linda Cohen sought opinions from Rotenberg and an outside attorney after Sviggum took the GOP job. Rotenberg concurred with the other lawyer.

A three-member regents panel discusses the issue Friday and the full board considers the panel’s recommendations next week.

Sviggum disputes any conflict of interest. He says he expects the regents will accept the lawyers’ findings, but he’ll listen to the regents’ advice before deciding whether to quit either position.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)