MNGOP dials phones that rarely ring.

Several DFL members of the Minnesota Senate say something happened that rarely occurs. Their phones within the Senate chambers were ringing.

That may seem odd but the phones, according to members, are only supposed to be used by Senate members and staff. But at least six Democrats say they got calls today from unhappy constituents. They were being urged to vote against a $1 billion bonding bill. DFL Sen. Don Betzold of Fridley says he got a call while the Senate was debating the bill.

“I’ve never gotten a phone call like that from the floor,” Betzold said. “I have never gotten a phone call like that from a citizen, a lobbyist, anyone, until today.”

DFL Sen. Terri Bonoff of Minnetonka said she got six calls from constituents. She said the callers said they were contacted by the Minnesota Republican Party and were patched through to their senators.

DFL Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller said the calls are a violation of Senate protocol. He said the phone numbers for the phones are unlisted and are only meant for internal business. He urged the Senate to stop the practice at the end of today’s floor debate.

But it doesn’t look like that will happen. Michael Brodkorb, a spokesman for Senate Republicans who also serves as Deputy Chair of the MNGOP, said he didn’t know the calls were taking place until after the fact. He also said he didn’t give the internal phone numbers to the MNGOP. But Brodkorb defended the practice stressing that the phones are paid for with taxpayer dollars.

“I don’t know that’s it’s problematic,” Brodkorb said. “They’re public phones but I don’t know how often the party is going to do it or not.”

He said it’s up to MNGOP Chair Tony Sutton and MNGOP executive director Ryan Griffin to decide whether the practice will continue.

Question of the day: What do you think? Should members of the Minnesota Senate get calls on the floor?

  • If the taxpayers are paying for those phones, then the taxpayers should be able to call those numbers. Period.

  • The phones should ring until the tyranny ends. Praise to MN GOP if this is something they actually did.

  • Bethany Dorobiala

    This is just one example of long-time government “protocol” that hampers the voices of taxpayers. Bravo to the MNGOP for enabling citizens.

    Senator Kathy Saltzman, please answer your phone when I call.

    Senator Pogemiller, what are you afraid of?

  • Jen K.

    Seriously? These are tax-payer funded phones, so I have to agree with the previous posters. Yeesh – how’s that arrogance working out for you, DFL?

  • Matt B.

    The phone numbers provided in Senator’s offices are always answered or, if you leave a message, get calls returned. This is just another example of the obstructionist party trying to keep government from working. The GOP at its finest – our ideas don’t work, so let’s just stop anybody else from trying.

  • edward

    Republicans love to talk about being the party of Law and Order – as long as they don’t have to abide by the rules or behave like adults. Just more Republican hypocrisy here; nothing to see; move along; move along.

  • Garyf

    I see some DFL’ers getting these phones put on a “do not call” list!

    How dare they! Average Minnesota taxpayers calling their elected officials and asking them to STOP spending!

  • emil

    OK, fine. Since Michael Brodkorb runs GOP campaigns out of his taxpayer-paid Senate office, let’s demand the number of HIS taxpayer-paid phone and that of the Governor’s office, too.

  • Anna

    Do we really want constant interruptions on the floor when the legislators are trying to get the people’s business done?

    When constituents are tying up all of them on the phones (Republicans too, this isn’t a one-sided issue) how are they supposed to debate the issues?

    The next step would be to yank all the phones from the floor (saving taxpayers a few dollars). Let them all use their private cell phones when internal staff has to contact them, and let them add the charges to their per diem (with appropriate documentation).

  • Aaron Pratt

    Upset at hearing from constituents?

    I think we should take this a step further and reverse the franking privilege; in a democracy, the letters to the representatives should be free, not the other way around…

  • mary

    Come on guys, there is a time and a place for everything! Do you want your surgeon answering calls while removing your gall bladder? Perhaps they pilot landing your plane? The

    GOP should come up with some new ideas for governance instead of just how to be obstructionists.

    Shame on you!

  • Bob

    The job of a legislator when they are in the chamber is to listen to the debate, read the bill, read the amendments that are proposed and vote.

    If they are constantly answering the phone during that time, they can’t pay proper attention to either the person calling or the legislation they are responsible for voting on.

    Every legislator has a public phone number, mailing address and email address so I really don’t see why this is necessary.

    It’s sad that the Republican Party continues to play political games, instead of having a civil debate and offering real ideas.

  • Brian Nelson

    Hey Aaron, letters to your representatives are free, it’s called email!

  • Charlie B.

    You can reach Michael Brodkorb at 612.XXX.XXXX (public information from his Facebook page).

    Maybe Brodkorb brought the Senate’s phone numbers with him after he left his job as communications director for the MNGOP.

    Last Name BRODKORB

    First Name MICHAEL B.

    Job Title COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

    Agency/Dept SENATE

    Department/Sub-Dept

    Status ACTIVE

    Employee Type REGULAR

    Full Time or Part Time NOT PROVIDED

    Total Base Pay $0.00

    Overtime Pay $0.00

    Other Pay $0.00

    Total Pay $1,444.24

    Hours Paid 0.00

    Pay Rate $53,644.00

    Frequency of Pay Rate S

    Job location

    Hire Date

    Bargaining Union

    Govt Branch (state only)

    Notes about this data

    Data year 2008

  • Sean

    Good to see several former employees of the MNGOP astroturfing on this website. Hi Bethany!

  • George Greene

    Here’s what you need to know about today’s Republicans. 1) You will rarely find a vote that puts people over wealth or corporations. 2) they long ago decided to shut off dialog or bipartisanship with Democrats and have refused the intelligent compromise that is necessary for government to function, 3) They’ve consciously engineered a divide between citizens and 4) the ends justify the means.

    Today’s Republicans have made the world safe for riches at any cost while convincing the regular guy, who is hurt most by this greed, that somehow he too will be rich someday (and worthy, then, of their protection). Lies in ads, dirty tricks (as Brodlorb is justly famous for), fear mongering, clever framing and propaganda are their daily tools. They have decided, like little children, that if they cannot have their way, they will use any trick in the book to keep anyone else from having theirs.

    Our national economic crisis and Minnesota’s increasing slide into mediocrity have been the direct result of Republican spending, borrowing and tax cutting. And now, when we desperately need to fix the problems their disinvestment has caused, all we get is “No”. This will only cause further devastation that they will undoubtedly blame on Democrats and the President (who they now, incredibly, blame the entire crisis on).

    I’m not sure whether to be happy President Obama is doing the adult thing and asking for their input or distressed that he actually might believe they have any intention of working with him at all.

  • Dan

    I love it! Fabulous!

  • Jason

    Hey Georgie…

    Do you have the slightest idea what the hell you’re talking about? I wonder if your name is really George Greene. Doubtful. I think you’re another DFL party disinformation specialist. Only people like you could lie so well, and yet so bad at the same time.

  • Tom Scheck

    Hey guys,

    After consulting with our newsdesk and doing some investigation, we decided to remove a phone number that was posted on this page. The number is for a personal cell phone and was not posted on the individual’s Facebook page.

    If the phone was a state issued cell phone it would be a different matter but it isn’t. What is public information is contact information for every senate staffer. You can find that elsewhere.

    This is also a reminder (and it’s not intended at anyone in particular) to keep the comments civil.

  • mary

    Once again a repug resorts to name calling and insults instead of a discussion of real issues. The reality is that we were attacked by terrorists under repug watch, 2 wars were started under a repug administration, the deficit was exploded by repugs and now that the DEMS are in charge the repug response to being thrown out of power by the popular vote is to blame DEMS for everything.

    Grow up and start offering ideas that solve problems instead of obstructionism.

  • George Greene

    Wow, nice one Jase. So… so…intelligent. I feel just terrible now.

    In answer to your questions: Yes, I do know what I’m talking about. Yes, that is my name (though I always felt like a Tony or maybe a Mike) and I do volunteer for the DFL, though “Disinformation Specialist”?! -I’m flattered -you think I could get paid for this?

    I suppose you don’t volunteer for the GOP, eh? And you don’t post your full name. Probably a good decision to be anonymous I suppose.

  • Oda

    Before everyone jumps on the “it’s paid for by taxpayers’ money thus it’s fair game to be used by the taxpayers” bandwagon…let’s use some common sense. There are tons of things that are funded by taxpayers’ money but are not available to the public, nor should they be available to the general public. I certainly cannot walk into a police station, grab a police car and say it’s my right to use it since it’s paid for by my tax money.

    Each Senator has a dedicated phone line just for constituents to reach them. An internal phone system for staffers and Senate to expedite procedures is not unreasonable to expect in the legislature. For the MNGOP to resort to those kind of political tactics, that’s pretty low.

  • Charlie B.

    The phone number Tom removed is, in fact, listed on Brodkorb’s Facebook page and also on several news releases and internet forums with an invitation from Brodkorb to call him anytime at that number. That said, does anyone really believe that Brodkorb had nothing to do with the MNGOP getting those unpublished Senate phone numbers when he is employed by both the MN GOP Senate Caucus and the MNGOP? But since Brodkorb has no problem with unrestricted use of taxpayer-paid-for phones, then perhaps you can at least publish Brodkorb’s taxpayer-paid-for phone number: 651.296.4184 .

  • Jason

    Any of you catch what happened the last ten minutes of the 2009 Session? I think the DFL broke a few protocols within about 15 minutes, including passing a tax bill AFTER midnight, this was in both the House and Senate, it was a pretty sad thing to watch, albeit while on tv at home, Georgie. So, no, not exactly the GOP’er you assume I am, huh? Or I’d have been there.

    But take a look at what happened in the Senate for yourself:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKAZDLhDgCI

  • George Greene

    Now you know what the Democrats felt like in Washington during most of the Bush Years when bills were rammed through in the wee hours almost weekly. Those who live by the sword…

    With the Governor’s egregious perversion of the unallotment provision, I’m kinda liking this little bit of turnabout.

  • Joyce

    Brodkorp info a real shocker. He works so diligently as an obstructionist (current phone issue is just a minor example of his childish antics) for the “Greedy Old Pops” (oops, forgot an “o”) I thought he must be one of that wealthy elitist group. But $53,644? Unless he’s making a lot of money on other jobs, he’s just one of us middle class slobs paying 12% in MN taxes while his “GOPops” (oops forgot an “o” again) pay only 9%. Hey Brodkorp, how d’ya like not only carrying water but paying the bill for your masters?

    But really, the legislative website gives email addresses and phone numbers for all legislators where citizens can leave messages any time and even speak with legislators. Interrupting them unnecessarily while they are working on the floor is obstructionist and stealing from the taxpayers of MN since we pay for our legislators in session to focus on the activity of moving legislation forward, not to answer phones.

    The “GOPops” (oops, add an “o”) and everyone connected with it needs to stop playing petty games and start working for the people of Minnesota.

  • Dennis Holman

    Ooooh, there are so many bits of mis-information submitted, above, by libs who, apparently, have “drunk the Kool-Aid” by the gallon. Had I only more time!!! However, the point is telephone calls, regarding a monstrous bonding bill that mimics the splurging that has been occurring in Washington. Let the phones keep ringing until a stop is put to the continuity of catastrophic spending that is bleeding this state dry!