GOP Stalwart Arrested in 2-Day St. Paul Prostitution Ring
The Star Tribune reports:
Peter Hong, a longtime Republican operative in Minnesota, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on a charge of soliciting prostitution in St. Paul.
Police spokesman Peter Panos said that the arrest came during the first day of a two-day sting operation during which "johns" and prostitutes responded to ads placed on the Internet and in print. Thirty-five people were arrested Wednesday and Thursday, Panos said today.
He declined to say where the undercover operation was based.
According to city and county records, Hong, 41, of Minneapolis, was arrested at about 3:40 p.m. on Wednesday and arrived at the Ramsey County jail just after 5 p.m. He was one of at least 19 men swept up during the first day of the sting, police records show.
Hong, reached by phone Thursday, said: "I don't have any comment."
Hong has been in and out of the Republican side of Minnesota politics since the mid-1990s, when he surfaced as a genial bulldog campaign press secretary for former Sen. Rod Grams, R-Minn. He served as a spokesman for Gov. Tim Pawlenty's campaign in 2002 and for the Bush-Cheney campaign in Minnesota in 2004.
Most recently, Hong was a point person for presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Gina Countryman, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Republican Party, said Hong is not currently working for any Minnesota candidate.
He is the third political figure to be arrested in a St. Paul prostitution sting in the past year.
Last summer, police arrested Tim Droogsma, a press secretary to former U.S. Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, who initially attributed his arrest to a "severe misunderstanding" before pleading guilty in January to an engaging-in-prostitution charge.
In February, New Brighton City Council member David Phillips was one of nine men nabbed in a prostitution sting. His next court appearance is in August.