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Brodkorb heads back to university to finish his degree

Michael Brodkorb

The University of Minnesota will have a famous – some might say, infamous – student on campus later this spring. Michael Brodkorb, the former communications director who is suing the state and the Senate Republican caucus for wrongful termination, will enroll Tuesday to complete his degree in political science.

“I’ve always wanted to go back and I have the flexibility to do it,” Brodkorb said in an interview.  “I look forward to feeding that side of my brain.”

Brodkorb said he left the U of M to work on the Rudy Boschwitz Senate campaign in 1995.  Except for a brief return to his studies in 2002, there was always a campaign or conservative cause that was more important than a degree, until now.  His notoriety, stemming from the lawsuit and his admitted affair with former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, has stunted his career as a top-flight political operative.  For the foreseeable future, any political work will be limited and deep behind the scenes.

On the U of M campus, though, starting in May, Brodkorb won’t be in hiding.   “At the university, I will be walking the halls. I will be out on the campus,” he said. “It’s going to be fun to be in poli sci class. My goal is to always be the guy to throw off the curve. I will be the annoying student who sits in the front row and asks too many questions.”

Brodkorb said he’s considering adding a journalism major to his degree and then moving on to law school. “My dad has always said I would be incredibly dangerous with a law degree,” he said.

A law degree would be useful considering the legal action Brodkorb’s been piling up. Last week, he supplemented his wrongful termination complaint with a notice to the state that he intended to file a claim of defamation against Cal Ludeman, secretary of the Senate, for a statement made in a news release last month. 

Ludeman’s statement that Brodkorb was trying “to extort a payment from the Senate” amounted to defamation per se, according attorney Phil Villaume. “Any time you accuse anyone of a crime and its false, it’s pure defamation,” Villaume said. 

Villaume says Brodkorb remains open to mediation to settle all his claims but the Senate has not responded to the requests. Asked whether mediation might take place after the end of the legislative session, Villaume replied, “It’s possible.” 

By then Brodkorb expects to be the classroom.

Comments (15)

  1. Submitted by Nathaniel Finch on 04/09/2012 - 10:27 am.

    Just what the profs are looking for

    I’d hate to have him in my class if I were teaching. If he didn’t like his grade, he’d sue you – not to mention making your life hell in class.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/09/2012 - 11:36 am.


      Had a student do that once…
      Called his bluff and noting happened.
      At a State school, you’d be suing the State, so at least as of the MnSCU contract a few years ago, state lawyers would defend you.
      And besides, it’s not defamation if it’s true.

  2. Submitted by Charlie Quimby on 04/09/2012 - 11:13 am.

    Might be good for him

    Going back to school now, Michael will probably get more out of it than when he was younger. My main criticism of him has been that — for all his aggressive political activity — he seemed to have little to no interest in policy or how that affected people’s lives and the quality of life in this state.

    Studying political science might broaden him now that he’s out of the political fray.

    Or it just might make him more dangerous.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/09/2012 - 11:26 am.

    Return to academia

    Mr. Brodkorb (and the rest of us) might be better served if he got a degree in human relations. He’d be an interesting student, but prickly, and he may have some difficulty adjusting to the reality that *he* has to meet someone *else’s* expectations, rather than being able to dictate the terms himself. A law degree will merely make him annoying.

  4. Submitted by Brian Simon on 04/09/2012 - 12:27 pm.

    required courses?

    If the U’s poly-sci curriculum doesn’t require an ethics class, I’d recommend Mr brodkorb consider taking one as an elective.

  5. Submitted by Virginia Martin on 04/09/2012 - 01:29 pm.

    brodkorp education

    I see few, if any, republicans consider how policy affects people’s lives. Listen to any politician talk about budgets and comparisons with Democratic budgets, for example, and you will hear a whole lot of numbers about how this budget compares with that of Clinton’s or Hoover’s or something, and how much it will bring down the deficit, or whatever. I listen for any of them to talk about human beings and the effect their policy will have. They never seem to be part of the equation. I’d be happy to hear differently if anyone knows of an example.
    Education may not help Brodkorb. Probably won’t. What I’ve been reading lately is how are brains work and how human characteristic seem to break down. Even if he hears it at school, he won’t “hear” it.
    I don’t know what can be done about this. Maybe just elect people of all stripes who talk about human beings in the budget.

  6. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/09/2012 - 02:28 pm.

    A Public University!

    Is Mr. Brodkorb telling us that the private sector can’t meet all of his educational needs?

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 04/09/2012 - 03:15 pm.


      He’s also probably hoping that the taxpayers pick up his tuition tab in the form of a settlement from the MN GOP. Brilliant!

      For what it’s worth, I’m sure a lot of peoples’ dad’s tell them they should be lawyers. That doesn’t mean it’s true.

  7. Submitted by William Gleason on 04/09/2012 - 06:00 pm.

    Maybe Brodkorb is learning

    that it is difficult to get a high paying job without a college degree or a skilled trade? Unless you are willing to be the bag man for a political party or dress in a chicken suit…

  8. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/09/2012 - 09:13 pm.

    He’ll drop out again

    He’s obviously not interested in learning anything, and he’ll be seriously disappointed when no one knows or cares who he is. He’ll probably end up suing the U for not giving him a degree for just being there.

  9. Submitted by craig furguson on 04/10/2012 - 06:15 am.

    It’s a little late for Michael now

    for Michael to get a political science degree. He’s kryptonite now in politics. I suggest women’s studies then a law degree from William Mitchell.

  10. Submitted by Alice Gibson on 04/10/2012 - 08:11 am.

    Arrogant as ever…

    Mr Brodkorb is aiming too high. He needs to accept Robert Fulghum’s advice, and head back to kindergarten.

  11. Submitted by Bob Petersen on 04/10/2012 - 08:18 am.

    He’ll have the time

    Why not go back and finish what you started? After all, who is going to hire this person? I’d hate to see the next one that actually hires him because his only income is going to be from suing people.

  12. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 04/10/2012 - 01:33 pm.

    I’m just trying to figure out

    how a guy without a four-year degree got a $90,000 a year job with the state?

    • Submitted by Barbara Skoglund on 04/11/2012 - 11:04 am.

      Political appointee

      Political appointees don’t have to meet any minimum qualifications – never have, never will. Only the union represented positions have minimum quals.

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