The legal bills keep piling up in the case of a fired Senate staff's wrongful termination lawsuit.
The Senate Rules and Administration Committee voted Friday to pay the latest attorney fees and expenses stemming from the wrongful termination lawsuit filed by former Republican caucus Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb. The suit has cost the Senate almost $103,000 to date.
Over the objections of committee Democrats -- who wanted the GOP caucus to set up a private defense fund, rather than use taxpayer dollars to pay the attorneys -- Senators voted 7-4 to pay $2,953 in legal bills from June and $14,766 from July.
Brodkorb lost his job last winter after his affair with former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch became public. He is suing on the grounds of gender discrimination, arguing that female Senate staffers who had sex with their bosses have been allowed to keep their jobs.
Democrats point to a 1997 lawsuit filed against DFL Senate Majority leader Roger Moe, who set up an outside fund to defend himself against criminal charges that he used state resources to campaign. Republicans countered that the Moe case involved criminal charges, not civil.
Senate counsel Tom Bottern said the Senate ended up paying up to $48,500 to settle the Moe lawsuit, and another $24,871 in legal fees to the whistleblower who brought the suit, Mary Hennessy. The money was paid out of the Senate's budget, Bottern said, and there was no vote before the payout.