Top Minn. Senate Dem Seeks Hearing on Legal Bill
The top Democrat in the Minnesota Senate insisted Thursday that Republicans call a public hearing before he'll sign off on a $46,000 legal bill stemming from the firing of a high-ranking GOP staff member.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk said he requested that the Senate Rules and Administration Committee meet to discuss the process for handling legal expenses.
"I am reluctant to sign off on dispensing tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars until we establish an accountable and transparent process for handling these legal expenses," Bakk said.
A bill arrived last week for the first few months of work by a private attorney defending the Senate against legal actions by Michael Brodkorb. He was fired after his extramarital affair with then-GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch came to light. She gave up her leadership post but is serving out the remaining months of her term.
Because the bill came in below $50,000, a hearing wasn't required. But signatures from top senators are needed to authorize payment.
Senate Republican officials didn't immediately respond to Bakk's hearing request.
Brodkorb is taking steps toward a federal gender discrimination lawsuit, arguing that he was treated differently from other employees involved in workplace affairs. He has threatened to bring lawsuits in state court against several senators and Senate officials on other grounds, including defamation of character and invasion of privacy. Those officials could be entitled to state-paid legal expenses.
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