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home : opinion : opinion April 30, 2016

6/18/2013 12:46:00 PM
Editorial Brodkorb legal bill should go to the Grand Old Party

Michael Brodkorb, a Minnesota Republican activist, former deputy chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, former communications director for the Republican caucus in the Minnesota Senate and former paramour of former Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, is suing the Minnesota Senate because he lost his job for engaging in inappropriate behavior. His complaint alleges that he was treated differently by Senate Republican leadership than other people who had engaged in similar behavior.

His argument reminds me of the story of the motorist who was among a number of vehicles exceeding the speed limit on a busy highway. He suddenly found himself singled out of the group by a state patrolman and directed over to the side of the road. As the officer wrote out the ticket, the motorist argued, "There are a lot of other drivers going just as fast as I was. How come you aren't ticketing them?"

As he handed the motorist the ticket, the officer asked, "Are you a fisherman?"

"Yes," the motorist answered.

"Well," said the officer, "You ever catch all the fish?"

Brodkorb got caught. Now that he has been caught, he argues that all the people he supposedly knew about who were also guilty of conduct for which they should have been terminated make it unreasonable for him to be punished. Apparently he believes that unless everyone who is guilty of conduct deserving termination is terminated, they should all be allowed to continue their misconduct. It is a juvenile attitude. The court ought to dismiss his legal action and tell him to go home and grow up.

In his position in Republican leadership, Brodkorb had a responsibility to report misconduct, not to see it as a license to engage in misconduct himself. Unfortunately, too often our political leaders adopt that attitude toward unethical and/or inappropriate behavior. They only report it when it works to their advantage and, too often, only when it is unethical and/or inappropriate behavior by members of the opposing party.

Republican leaders should have asked the court to dismiss this case based on the fact that Brodkorb's defense demonstrates not that he was treated differently from other wrongdoers but that he was derelict in his duties as a member of the Republican staff in not reporting wrongdoing.

This case has already run up a bill in excess of $200,000 and has barely gotten started. That the people of Minnesota are being expected to pay that bill and whatever else this debacle costs is unconscionable. This dispute is an internal affair of the Republican party and the Republican party should be picking up the tab.

There are procedures in place for dealing with state employees. If the Republicans viewed Brodkorb as a state employee, they would have followed those procedures. It is pretty clear they did not view him as a state employee, but as an employee of the Republican caucus.

Democrats in the Minnesota Senate were not consulted or included in any manner in the action that was taken by Republican leaders in regard to the Brodkorb affair. This was not handled as a Minnesota Senate matter, it was handled strictly as a Republican party insider issue. It had nothing to do with Senate business, only Republican party business.

Minnesota taxpayers should not be stuck with the legal services bill or with any part of any settlement that is reached in the Michael Brodkorb affair. The Republican party should take responsibility for this mess and pick up the tab.

Larry Dobson

Claremont Service

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