Friday, February 03, 2012

Brodkorb paid from GOP Senate Victory Fund

Image Credit: Ken Avidor

Riding high from victories that brought Republican control to the Minnesota House and Senate, the Republican Senate Victory Fund paid Michael Brodkorb $7,500 for consulting work on January 31, 2011, as documented in a just-filed campaign finance report. This was in addition to $20,625 in late 2009, and $16,875 paid to Brodkorb for research in 2010. In sum, Brodkorb was paid $45,000 in in sixteen months from the Senate Victory Fund. These payments were in addition to Brodkorb's state employee salary as a Senate staffer. In the 2010 election cycle Brodkorb worked closely with Senator Amy Koch and consultant Ben Golnik to elect Republicans to the Minnesota Senate.

One year later, Senator Amy Koch has stepped down from her Majority Leader position after admitting to an inappropriate relationship with a male Senate staffer, and Michael Brodkorb was fired from his job with the Senate Caucus and is mulling a lawsuit for wrongful termination. Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman has retained a lawyer at taxpayer expense to advise the Senate on this case.

In the months leading up to the 2010 election, Senator Amy Koch traveled around the state campaigning hard for Republican candidates. According to reports, she was often accompanied by Michael Brodkorb. Other news reports at the time document how closely Koch, Brodkorb and consultant Ben Golnik worked together to elect Republicans to the Senate.

Breanna Bierschbach reported in the October 8, 2010 Legal Ledger:
Koch has taken the lead on Senate GOP elections this year, a common step to prove one's leadership bona fides. Koch, who is also an assistant minority leader, has recruited what she and others call an all-star class for Senate elections this year. She has been door knocking with candidates across the state, and has said she has high hopes the Senate will win the 13 seats it needs to take the majority this year.
In naming Senator Koch as their 2010 Politician of the Year, Politics in Minnesota included the following description of the intense, coordinated work in the campaign:
As head of the Senate caucus re-election effort, [Koch] recruited strong candidates across the state, landing several challengers with formidable business resumes. In coordination with GOP consultant Ben Golnik and Senate communications chief Michael Brodkorb, Koch focused the caucus's meager financial resources on takeover targets and relentlessly stressed a message of budgetary malfeasance by Democrats at the Capitol. She pushed the GOP caucus leadership to broaden the field of targeted contests to seemingly entrenched Senate DFLers like Leo Foley and Don Betzold. During the final 10-week stretch, Koch and Golnik led weekly phone calls with each of their top 20 candidates to get updates on voter contacts and fundraising. "We probably talked to each other more than we talked to our spouses during that last stretch," recalls Golnik. "It was all in and then some. "
Koch was rewarded for her hard work and the takeover of the Senate by being elected Majority Leader. She leapfrogged over several more senior senators including Minority Leader David Senjem. Brodkorb was rewarded as well. Not only was he paid $7,500 from the Senate Victory Fund as a consultant in January 2011, but he got a $40,000 raise after taking on the additional duties as Executive Assistant to newly-elected Majority Leader Koch.

Sen. Geoff Michel, treasurer of the Senate Victory Fund and former Deputy Majority Leader, did not return telephone calls and emails inquiring about the $7,500 payment to Brodkorb in January 2011.

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