Letter: State taxpayers are left holding the billI read the article Minnesota Senators troubled over costs in sex scandal (June 21, 2012) with interest. I have been following the story since Mr. Brodkorb announced his intention to file a gender discrimination and defamation suit against the state after being dismissed from his job as a consequence his affair with his boss, GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch.
By: Douglas Bauman, Brewster, Worthington Daily Globe
I read the article Minnesota Senators troubled over costs in sex scandal (June 21, 2012) with interest. I have been following the story since Mr. Brodkorb announced his intention to file a gender discrimination and defamation suit against the state after being dismissed from his job as a consequence his affair with his boss, GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch.
At the time of his termination, Mr. Brodkorb was employed by the Minnesota Senate GOP caucus as Director of Communications. This is a state job and therefore the cost of defending the GOP leadership in what is essentially an inter-party war will be assumed by the state. The current legal defense bill is $84,000. As Brodkorb shows no sign of going away, the legal bill will continue to climb. Legal expenses could easily reach the six figure range and possibly top a million if and when a settlement is reached. Negotiating a settlement with Michael Brodkorb, short of giving him everything he asks for, will not be easy. Mr. Brodkorb has a reputation as a master of divisive politics, sharp elbows, and scorched earth political strategies. The give and take of negotiation is not in Brodkorb’s nature.
Brodkorb developed his reputation for divisive politics maintaining an online blog specializing in sensationalist attacks on Minnesota Democrats. Brodkorb blogged anonymously until he was publicly named in a law suit. Brodkorb’s reputation for digging dirt made him an attractive choice as deputy chair of the Minnesota Republican Party in 2009. While continuing as the GOP deputy party chair, Brodkorb was also hired by the Republican Senate Caucus. In his Senate job, Brodkorb was paid a state salary of $90,070 a year. Brodkorb’s dual role as a party officer and a senate staffer was unique in the legislature where traditionally staffers, as state employees, avoid outright politicking. Brodkorb, however, is not one to be limited by niceties or tradition.
It quickly became clear that Brodkorb intended to raise the level of partisan fighting at the legislature. He attacked, often in highly personal ways, senators he disagreed with or got in the way of his agenda. Brodkorb’s style of fighting rather than negotiating cumulated in the entirely unnecessary and expensive shutdown of state government.
Brodkorb once said he regards politics as a combat sport.” He brought that philosophy to his fight with the Minnesota Senate. Brodkorb and his attorneys plan to name colleagues who have engaged in affairs with staffers, lobbyists or legislators as proof that Brodkorb’s dismissal was discriminatory. The threat to name names lead to this year’s spat of unexpected Senate retirements. Cal Ludeman, the new GOP Senate leader, issued a press release accusing Brodkorb of extortion, which is an accurate description.
When the GOP Senate leadership hired Brodkorb they knew they were employing a divisive, no-holds-barred, politics as war, loose cannon. The GOP should not be surprised that Brodkorb is now aiming his cannons at them.
As your article noted, approval of the costs created by this avoidable legal mess broke along party lines. Democrats opposed payment, Republicans voted for it. Unfortunately the Minnesota taxpayers are on the hook for it.