By the end of the year, the other Republicans in the caucus had enough of this situation and took action. Koch was forced to resign her leadership position and Brodkorb was ashcanned. Now Brodkorb is back with a retinue of lawyers and wants money. And he's willing to expose the Peyton Place that apparently is St. Paul:
Just what we need, "new and creative" legal reasoning. So what are we looking at?
Fired Minnesota Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb is threatening to seek sworn statements from legislators and staffers who may have had trysts to prove he was treated differently for having an affair with former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch.
Brodkorb is a longtime GOP operative whose work as a blogger and strategist played a role in bringing Republicans to power at the Capitol. His attorneys say they are prepared to take sworn depositions from romantically linked legislators and subordinates in order to help his potential gender-discrimination lawsuit. Brodkorb is seeking more than $500,000 in damages and legal costs, and his suit is based on what his attorney called "new and creative" legal reasoning.
The Senate's private attorney dismissed the former staffer's claims as a fishing expedition. But the allegations got the Capitol rumor mill buzzing over whom, precisely, Brodkorb could identify.Privately, eh? Yeah, sure. Meanwhile, the grey eminences from both parties would rather not go there:
Neither Villaume nor a legal document from Brodkorb's side provided any hint of which lawmakers might face deposition, which would be done privately.
"Not me," said Steve Sviggum, who replaced Brodkorb. Sviggum served as the House Republican leader and then speaker for more than a decade, until 2006. Asked whether he knew of a single lawmaker other than Koch who had an affair with a staffer, he said: "We are going to let the attorneys handle this. You are pushing me in a way I don't want to go."As for Sviggum's old DFL sparring partner, Roger Moe?
Roger Moe, a DFLer who served as the Senate majority leader for two decades, also demurred about whether he knew of lawmakers who had sexual relations with staffers during his time.
"If I did, I wouldn't tell you," said Moe, now a lobbyist.
Roger that, Roger. I've seen your caucus and I'd rather not think about the implications of knowing such things. So what is the "new and creative" legal theory behind this walk on the sordid side?
At its heart, Brodkorb's legal case is that he was fired even though female staffers who had affairs with lawmakers were kept on or transferred to other state jobs. Brodkorb said he was treated differently, a case of gender discrimination.Well, that's unfortunate if it's true, but you know what? I don't care. I don't know Michael Brodkorb but he has been a major player here for a long time now. His old blog, Minnesota Democrats Exposed, was very effective in rooting out malfeasance and for that, I am grateful. But it's become evident that Brodkorb has lost his perspective here. The reason he went to St. Paul in the first place was to be a reformer. You can't be a reformer with your pants around your ankles.
"Similarly situated female legislative employees, from both political parties, were not terminated from their employment positions despite intimate relationships with male legislators," his attorneys said.
We've dealt with louts for as long as I can remember. I'm old enough to remember the fates of Wilbur Mills and Wayne Hays, to say nothing of more recent examples like Gary Hart, Anthony Weiner, Mark Foley and countless others. The problem has never been the shtupping per se -- the problem is the abuse of power involved. I suppose it's a measure of progress that we now have female politicians behaving as badly as their male counterparts, but it doesn't excuse any of it. And rather than find out who else has been making the beast with two backs, I'd rather that those involved would just go away.