Senate Democrats file ethics complaint against Geoff Michel

Democrats in the Minnesota Senate have filed an ethics complaint against Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, for how he handled the affair between former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and Senate Republican Caucus spokesman Michael Brodkorb.

Michel was first told about the “inappropriate relationship” between Koch and Brodkorb in September and then reported it to Senate human resources . He failed to confront Koch on the matter until late November.

“Upon being made aware of an alleged inappropriate relationship between the Senate Majority Leader and a subordinate senate employee in September, 2011, Senator Michel had an obligation as Deputy Majority Leader to take appropriate action to fully and swiftly address the matter,” Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, wrote in the complaint.

Pappas also said Michel brought “dishonor and disrepute” to the Senate by not taking action to fully and swiftly address the matter. Pappas said he “betrayed the public’s trust by making false and clearly misleading public statements regarding when he became aware” of the relationship.

Michel initially told reporters late last year that he became aware of the relationship in early November but later admitted he found out about the affair on September 21. Koch’s former chief of staff, Cullen Sheehan, told Michel about the affair at that time.

Pappas is asking the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate the details of the matter and that the hearings be open to the public.

The complaint comes less than a week after attorneys for Brodkorb announced that they intend to sue the Senate for gender discrimination. They say they will provide examples of female staffers who had affairs with male lawmakers but still kept their jobs.

Will be updated…

Here’s the complaint:

Update:

Sen. Michel issued this statement:

“This is about politics and payback and has nothing to do with ethics. The DFL wants a few more headlines. The conflict of interest has been resolved. The workplace environment has improved. And, we did this while protecting whistleblowers and staff. I have asked for an immediate hearing to resolve this matter.”

Ethics Complaint 03-19-12

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