WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler tweets that Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Virginia) wants to reduce Republican payrolls because of the over $200,000 in legal expenses associated with the contested firing of Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb after Brodkorb had an affair with Bakk’s predecessor, then Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch.
- Were DFL staff payrolls reduced in order to cover legal expenses associated with the DFL-heavy Phonegate scandal?
- Would DFLers support a local school board Education Minnesota members’ salaries to pay for legal expenses associated with anti-gay bullying lawsuits?
- Would DFLers have been comfortable cutting the salaries of workers at the EVTAC mine in Eveleth to pay legal expenses associated with the sexual harassment charges against that company?
The point: Most rank-and-file Repblican staffers presumably were not making decisions about the Brodkorb affair and firing, so explaining the payroll cut as an en masse punishment for the lawsuit doesn’t seem fair.
To be clear, the issue is the explanation, not the action. Majority Leader Bakk is justified in reducing Republican staff payrolls, just as Republicans reduced DFL payrolls when they became the majority party. When electoral shifts cause changes in party majorities, political staffing levels shift accordingly. As long as the staffing shift is proportional to the electoral shift, there’s nothing nefarious about such adjustments.
But if Senator Bakk insists on using the Brodkorb suit as his rationale for the Republican payroll cuts, that rationale may well be used against him or his party some day. And paybakk could be a bitch.