Austin ousts human rights commissioner because he supports conservative human rights groups

Austin ousted one of its human rights commissioners after his wife was elected as a Republican.

Dan Mueller (right) and his wife, Rep. Patricia Mueller (left) with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (center). (Rep. Patricia Mueller/Facebook)

The city of Austin, Minnesota, recently removed a member from its Human Rights Commission, citing his involvement with conservative groups that advocate for human rights.

Dan Mueller is the husband of Republican Minnesota Rep. Patricia Mueller. He was removed from the Austin Human Rights Commission last week after city leaders took issue with his alleged support for the Minnesota Child Protection League, the Minnesota Family Council and Minnesotans4Freedom. These organizations advocate for the human rights of children, religious freedom (which is considered a human right) and constitutional principles, respectively.

According to a letter submitted to the Austin City Council, the Human Rights Commission voted 8-0 to recommend Mueller’s removal, which was approved by the council in a vote of 6-1.

“This request is due to his recent involvement with several different groups whose mission doesn’t align with that of the Human Rights Commission’s values and mission. It is believed that his involvement undermines the credibility and effectiveness of the Austin Human Rights Commission,” said the letter.

The co-chair of the Human Rights Commission then identified the groups as the Minnesota Child Protection League, the Minnesota Family Council, and Minnesotans4Freedom when speaking with the Austin Daily Herald.

Mueller had served on the commission since 2017 and reportedly resisted calls to resign.

The charge to remove Mueller was enthusiastically backed by Oballa Oballa, an Ethiopian refugee who serves on the Austin City Council.

“Sometimes some of his [Mueller’s] comments on Facebook really hurt me,” Oballa said after the meeting that ended with Mueller’s ejection, per ABC 6 News. “We have to move forward as a loving community and we have to make sure everyone is valued.”

Oballa Oballa (Facebook/Oballa Oballa)

The council decided that Mueller’s involvement with conservative groups that advocate for human rights means that he “didn’t align with the Human Rights Commission,” according to Councilman Paul Fischer.

Meanwhile, Mueller suggested that his removal from the commission was a result of his wife’s position as an elected Republican.

“I have served on the Human Rights Commission and throughout the community since moving back to the area without incident or issue until recently … What has changed is that my wife was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives and now people who were once colleagues and community connections we supported have begun to attack my wife and now me over political differences,” he said in a statement to the council.

His statement continued, decrying the attacks against him as “baseless” and warning that they set a “dangerous precedent” if local governments continue to purge conservatives from their ranks.

He also said he has reason to believe that his removal is related to his wife’s support for a bill in the Minnesota House that “seeks to protect girls from competing against biological boys in female sports.”

Mueller has received support from his community since being ousted. “The recent removal of Dan Mueller from Austin’s Human Rights Commission raises serious questions. Many people, including myself, respect Dan as a man of character and compassion,” wrote one Austin resident in a letter to the editor published by the Herald.

Most groups that claim to defend human rights lean strongly left. The Human Rights Campaign, for example, is a pro-LGBTQ group that operates a super-PAC dedicated to “expanding socially liberal policies,” per Influence Watch. Human Rights Watch is one of the largest groups in this class and is frequently accused of advocating for left-wing policies under the guise of defending humanity.