Questions about whether deposed Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch was treated differently than a male politician would have been, or whether there might be other reasons for her ouster, are echoing through the cyber world amongst Republican strategists.
Republican standard bearer Sarah Janecek wonders publicly on her Facebook page about the Star Tribune story today outlining how Koch was confronted by male Senate leaders about an alleged affair with a male staffer supervised by Koch:
When is the last time a MALE elected official was treated like this? Still thinking? That’s my point. This is NOT about an affair. Those are dimes a dozens. This is about something else. Given the facts as we know them, there is no way Amy Koch needed to resign. This is about something else. I find it almost criminal that all this is being reported the way it is. Come on, people. Dig.
Janecek’s assertion seems to be that Koch was treated differently because there’s something more to the story rather than because she’s a woman.
Janecek’s post had 59 comments this morning, including one from David Strom, who’d been research director on Republican Tom Emmer’s gubernatorial campaign:
I don’t know, but I suspect it would be news if Kurt Zellers slept with one of his staff, were confronted by 4 colleagues, and resigned as Speaker. And then the staff member left under a cloud. This is exactly the response that feminists have been fighting to get in cases of workplace sexual harassment. I love Amy Koch, but having affairs with direct subordinates and cutting them breaks based upon that relationship is against the rules. In today’s environment, the rules apply equally to men and women. I know these things happen all too frequently, but since my first job I have been endlessly lectured about the consequences of sexual relationships between bosses and employees. If the genders were reversed, don’t you think NOW would want the leader punished? (Unless he were a Democrat President)
In a further Facebook comment Janecek said:
Do you know how many DFL MN pols have had affairs with subordinates? Many. Some of them have promoted their love partners. Don’t even get me started on the higher ups in GOP gubernatorial administrations that had affairs with subordinates. This whole thing reeks. It’s not about the affair. It’s about something else.
In a phone interview this morning, Janecek said there are two parts to her Koch outrage: sexism — and a deeper reason why Koch was confronted and forced to resign her position.
“There’s the sexism component, for sure. Many a DFL leader, many other leaders, have had this issue before them. And I think it’s outrageous the way three male senators did this,” she said.
But Janecek said she’s digging deeper to find out whether there was something else that led GOP officials to go after Koch.
In a follow-up post this morning, Janecak raises a gambling-related possibility, though doesn’t specifically mention Koch:
Follow the Money in the MN GOP: Part 1.
The current MN GOP Platform reads: “We seek to eliminate all state-sponsored gambling and oppose any expansion of gambling in Minnesota. In regards to casinos already in place, current gambling laws should be changed so that Minnesota is allowed to tax profits and revenue of tribal casino gambling in the state.”
Tony Sutton, as former Chair of the MN GOP, was obligated to abide by and espouse that position.
Michael B. Brodkorb, as former Deputy Chair of the MN GOP, was obligated to abide by and espouse that position.
Now … who all in MN GOP party circles is getting paid to argue against the GOP party platform position and for expanding gambling?
“I’ve got a slow day. I’m going to play citizen-journalist and do some citizen reporting on Facebook,” she said.
And her next Facebook post:
Follow the Money in the MN GOP: Part 2.
How does money flow in MN politics? Some of it is traceable. Some of it is not. MN law requires people being paid to lobby to register with the MN Campaign Finance & Public Disclosure Board (but not specify the exact amounts of money). MN law requires full disclosure of all campaign contributions. But in my view, the limits on contributions made directly to candidates are low and not that meaningful. [I don’t think you can buy a legislator for $250.]
However, the traceable money starts to get interesting if you spend hours pouring over Board reports and look for who wants what and add up the amounts of these individual contributions, particularly the contributions made to political committees.
One big source of untraceable money is what is paid to public affairs consultants who are not registered to lobby. Another is who, exactly, is paying for interest groups who are lobbying the public, not the legislature.