The editorial endorsement of Tina Smith ("DFL's Sen. Smith stands out — quietly," Aug. 9) claims that my sole focus is on impeaching and removing Donald Trump from office. That is an important priority for me and for millions of Americans concerned about the Constitution and the future of our Republic (Sen. Smith clearly disagrees with me on that). But I have repeatedly addressed other issues as well.
I support Medicare for All and will sign onto Sen. Bernie Sanders' single-payer bill. Sen. Smith will not. I oppose all sulfide mining near major waterways anywhere in the United States. Sen. Smith supports the PolyMet sulfide mine. I support a carbon fee to reduce global warming. It is not clear what Sen. Smith plans to do about that problem. None of these critically important issues were addressed in your editorial.
The editorial rightly called upon Sen. Smith to address her conflict of interest from holdings she and her husband have in medical device stocks, running into the millions, according to FEC reports. Inexplicably, you called for her to address this problem only if she wins the primary. This has nothing to do with the primary or the general election. It has to do with the fact that she is a sitting senator.
This conflict of interest should have been addressed in January before she was sworn in to replace Al Franken. She needs to sell the stock now or resign.
With one member of Congress (Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y.) arrested this week in a case involving insider trading of pharma stock, it is critically important to get senators and representatives out of investments in individual companies, particularly in health care. Americans are sick and tired of paying sky-high prices for insurance, drugs and medical devices while their elected representatives have conflicts of interest.
Finally, your editorial praises Sen. Smith for taking the lead role in negotiating the Vikings stadium deal. That deal, a taxpayer-subsidized stadium, cost Minnesota and Minneapolis taxpayers a half-billion dollars. I and other Minnesotans pay for our own Vikings tickets when we can afford to, which is not very often. The billionaire team owner can pay for his own stadium.
In 2017, Donald Trump took office with massive financial conflicts of interest. I have criticized him on television and in newspaper op-eds. I have even sued him over foreign government payments that violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. I have pointed out the vice president's complicity in the Russia investigation.
Next Tuesday, I will rise or fall on the ballot depending upon whether voters care as much I do about investigating and removing this president and vice president from office, as well as my insistence that it is inconsistent with ethics, and with Minnesota values, for a U.S. senator to own millions of dollars in health care stocks while voting on health care legislation.
Richard Painter is a candidate for U.S. Senate in the DFL special primary.