Senate to hold Ethics hearing on April 16

The Minnesota Senate is scheduled to hold another ethics hearing on the complaint filed against Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina. The Senate’s Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct has scheduled a 10am hearing on April 16 to continue discussing whether Michel violated ethics rules.

Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, alleges that Michel misled the public as to when he learned former GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch was having an affair with former Senate Republican Caucus spokesman Michael Brodkorb. Pappas said Michel brought dishonor and disrepute to the Senate because he also didn’t act on the incident quickly enough. Michel insists he did nothing wrong.

Pappas responded to news of the hearing in a message on Twitter: “It’s about time…just apologize Sen. Michel.”

The ethics committee, made up of two Republicans and two Democrats, deadlocked on the complaint on March 23. The committee members voted to meet again later that day but Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, abruptly canceled the meeting without giving notice to the Democrats on the committee or the public. Senate GOP leaders said the hearing was “temporarily postponed” after an attorney advised them there were things they shouldn’t discuss at the hearing.

Brodkorb, who was fired on December 16, is pursuing legal action against the Minnesota Senate. His attorneys claim that he was fired because he was having an affair with Koch. They say female staffers who had affairs with male lawmakers were not punished. Brodkorb is seeking at least $500,000 in damages.

The Ethics Committee has to act on the complaint by April 18.

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