Rep. Erik Mortensen, R-Shakopee, introduced articles of impeachment against Gov. Tim Walz on Monday in response to his “illegal” use of emergency powers and “unilateral” decision-making.
Gov. Walz first declared a peacetime emergency on March 13 to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and has issued more than 100 executive orders since then.
Mortensen said his impeachment attempt is based on Walz’s “corrupt conduct in office and other crimes and misdemeanors.”
The five articles of impeachment are authored by Mortensen, Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, and Rep. Jeremy Munson, R-Lake Crystal.
The first article declares that Walz created state law through his executive orders, which is a power “expressly granted to the legislative branch in the Minnesota Constitution.” While Walz was given the power to respond to an “immediate crisis,” his actions weren’t “consistent with the constitutionally mandated separation of powers,” according to the articles of impeachment.
“It has become abundantly clear that Gov. Walz does not care if he abides by the State and U.S. Constitutions which he’s responsible for upholding,” Mortensen said in a press release.
According to Mortensen, Walz “invented new penalties” when he imposed $3,000 fines and up to one year of jail time on anyone who violated his executive orders. Minnesota law regarding emergency powers states that violations of executive actions are punishable by a $1,000 fine or up to three months in jail.
“No statutory or constitutional authority exists for the governor to invent new penalties under the color of law,” Mortensen wrote in an email. He called Walz “anti-democratic” and said he disregarded the country’s republican form of government, in which only legislators make laws.
Mortensen also claimed that Walz prohibited the free exercise of religion, violated the First Amendment, and broke private property laws in both the U.S. and Minnesota Constitutions by banning evictions.
“Private property shall not be taken, destroyed or damaged for public use without just compensation therefor, first paid or secured,” reads one section of the Minnesota Constitution.
Mortensen’s fifth article of impeachment states that the governor performed several “extreme actions” that were both aggressive and unnecessary for the “protection of the public.”
These “poorly-justified” actions, like that of banning almost all non-emergency medicine, affected Minnesota residents in a number of negative ways, said Mortensen.
The first-term Republican said his goal is to protect “the American Dream,” which requires “removing obstacles between people and prosperity.”
“Right now, the biggest obstacle is Gov. Tim Walz. Therefore, he must be removed,” Mortensen wrote.
Mortensen said he is confident in his argument, noting that the case “wasn’t even that hard to [make] considering all of the destruction that Gov. Walz has done.”