DFLers want more info on Republicans' legal hire

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Democrats in the Minnesota Senate are calling on the Republican majority to be more transparent about their decision to hire an outside attorney.

The Secretary of the Senate said earlier this week that he hired an outside firm to represent the Senate in a lawsuit a former staffer might file.

Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, said Democrats were not informed about the hiring and want Republicans to release more information.

"We are just coming off hearing that the Senate Democrats are being expected to cut a certain amount of our staff and come to find out that we made a financial commitment to a law firm," Bonoff said. "Where does that leave our budget?"

Republican Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem said he's willing to meet with DFL leaders to discuss the matter but he said he wants to let the Secretary of the Senate handle the issues with the lawyers. "The Secretary of the Senate has a fair amount of discretion within our rules to incur costs ... I believe it's $25,000," Senjem said. "Up to a certain point, I want to let the Secretary of the Senate do his job."

An attorney for former staffer Michael Brodkorb said this week he is considering a lawsuit over Brodkorb's dismissal. Brodkorb lost his job in December several hours after it was revealed that former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch had an "inappropriate relationship" with a male staffer.

Attorneys for Brodkorb declined comment when asked if he was the staffer in question.