Senate paying attorney up to $300 an hour to deal with Brodkorb scandal

Republican Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem said today the Senate is paying an outside attorney $200 – $300 an hour to prepare for a lawsuit by a fired Senate staffer.

It’s the first glimpse at what the Senate is paying in legal fees in a scandal involving former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. Senjem and other Senate officials have refused to release details of their agreement with employment law attorney Dayle Nolan. Senjem called the amount of taxpayer dollars being paid to the lawyer “privileged information.”

“There’s no specific reason,” Senjem said. “I’m not sure we’ve gotten a bill yet to be honest with you. That’s perhaps part of it. You can start to count the hours maybe. A couple of hearings here and incidental consultation time with the Senate representatives.”

Several Democrats have said the agreement with the attorney should be public. Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, says Senjem should disclose how much the Senate is paying Nolan. She said the Senate Secretary should release the Senate’s agreement with the lawyer.

“I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t,” Rest said. “It’s a simple answer. Does an agreement exist or not? If the secretary signed it then it’s a public document.”

Minnesota Senate Secretary Cal Ludeman told reporters on Friday that a document exists that contains details of Nolan’s hourly rate, but he refused to release it.

Former Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb is preparing to sue the Senate for gender discrimination, defamation and invasion of privacy. He said he was fired because he had an affair with Koch. Senate officials say he was legally dismissed.

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