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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Brodkorb’

A Reminder Why He’s Called “Son Of Turd Blossom”

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 15, 2012

I hear to my surprise that a number of old and new media people who should know better are engaging in spiritual bromances with none other than Michael Brodkorb. In other words, they’re falling for the same schmoozy tricks that allowed him to vault to local and even national prominence in the first place.

Consider this post a reminder.

For instance, remember how in May of 2008 he pitched himself to the AP’s Patrick Conlon as an independent blogger who wasn’t being paid to blog on the GOP’s behalf? Here’s a memory-refresher:

Condon, in his effort to imply that Brodkorb was just some guy who just happens to write a blog (or rather, blogs; more on that later) attacking Minnesota Democratic candidates for office, left off big swaths of Brodkorb’s résumé.

Condon didn’t mention Brodkorb’s extensive work for Weber Johnson, a political consulting firm run by Joe Weber, the brother of Vin Weber, former Minnesota GOP congressman and one of the top movers and shakers in the national conservative Republican scene. He also chose not to mention Brodkorb’s being paid over $4500 per month by the 2006 Senatorial campaign of Republican Mark Kennedy as a “part-time press consultant”; that amount, per Minnesota Monitor, made him the fifth-highest-paid member of Kennedy’s campaign, garnering more even than Kennedy’s own press secretary; it was also more than what was paid to all but the top three persons in Democratic opponent (and eventual winner) Amy Klobuchar’s campaign. He also was paid by Michele Bachmann’s congressional campaign, something else Condon chose not to discuss. Condon didn’t even bother to ask who’s currently paying Brodkorb’s freight, which is an odd omission considering Brodkorb’s long history as a paid political operative.

Then there’s Condon’s dutifully reproducing Brodkorb’s preferred storyline about how he got outed as the creator of Minnesota Democrats Exposed:

Brodkorb started Minnesota Democrats Exposed anonymously in 2004, when he was still a paid employee of the state Republican Party. He outed himself in 2006 only after a Democratic public relations consultant sued him for defamation for an item Brodkorb posted. A judge dismissed the lawsuit last year, saying Brodkorb deserved the same legal protections as newspapers and traditional broadcasters against lawsuits by public figures.

Hogwash. What really happened is that Brodkorb outed himself by accident in October of 2005, when he made a post by e-mail and left his name on the post, thus confirming the suspicions of at least one local blogger:

Eva Young at Lloydletta’s Nooz and Comments first speculated about Brodkorb in September 2005 in “Is Michael Brodkorb the Elusive MDE“. Young’s net-educated guess was confirmed in October 2005 when the DFLBlog (kept by two DFLers but not an official party blog) posted that Brodkorb’s name, email address, and cell phone number appeared at the end of a post pimping the improved Pawlenty for Governor site. “Reluctantly Exposing Minnesota Democrats Exposed” includes a screen shot of the incriminating MDE post, a smaller version of which graces the top of my post here. Young picked up on this in two subsequent posts, here and here. Curiously, despite the clear evidence offered by the bloggers, Minnesota’s press corps continued the polite fiction that the identity of MDE was a mystery, right up to the time Brodkorb actually admitted to being MDE. (His track record on disclosure is still pretty shaky, as Shakesville’s Jeff Fecke shows at his own blog here and local blogger Flash at Centristy shows here, here, and here. As Flash says in a recent comment at The Cucking Stool, another local blog: “As someone who admits his career is in politics and specifically oppo research and press consulting, where, pray tell, has he received a penny from since November 2006, ’cause he hasn’t disclosed it.”)

There’s much, much more, but the thing to take from the whole affair is this: Those who would chase eagerly after Michael Brodkorb, thinking that he’s their bro and (now that he’s in bad odor with many state Senate Republicans for dropping the nuclear option on them) possibly a Real and True Honest to Goodness Independent Operative now, ready to dish dirt on his former employers in exchange for kid-gloves handling, should pause in their chasings, catch their breath, and wonder if they themselves are being had by one of the slickest schmoozers to sit at a keyboard.

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RPM’s Brodkorb Scorecard So Far: West Metro Business Types 1, Everyone Else 0

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 25, 2012

A few days ago, Spotty over at the Cucking Stool was chuckling away over the prospect of Cal Ludeman’s being hauled into a courtroom to address some, ah, inconsistencies in his public statements on the firing of Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb:

There was a hearing yesterday which began to address the Minnesota Senate’s (or the Republican part of it, anyway) contradictory statements about why Big Cal met Michael Brodkorb in a suburban restaurant and left him face down in the soup course.

“Sigh, we just weren’t up to keeping him on; nothing personal,” said Cal at the time.

Bonking the boss; we canned him,” said Cal’s office later when the unemployment office asked about Brodkorb’s application for unemployment compensation.

You will appreciate the inconsistency between those two explanations.

Yup, I sure do. Heh heh heh.

Can’t wait to see Cal Ludeman placed under oath. He’ll soon wish he’d begged Cummins, the Coopers, the Steinhafels and the other West Metro business types than control the RPM for the $500,000 Brodkorb demanded as a lovely parting gift.

But hey, isn’t Brodkorb, like Sutton, part of the West Metro business types crowd? Being that they were in tight with the Coopers, Michael Wigley and all. So why would the West Metros go out of their way to help Ludeman out here by paying off Brodkorb — especially when a lot of them are still ticked at Brodkorb’s buddy Tony Sutton for flushing the RPM’s finances down the same toilet he sent the Cooper-subsidized Baja Sol’s?

Nope, the only “help” they’re likely to give Ludeman is help out the door. He’s going to be lucky to avoid wearing an orange jumpsuit.

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Why All Minnesotans Should Read Bluestem Prairie

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 21, 2012

It’s because Sally Jo Sorensen has a lot on the ball.

For example, remember the tale of Michael “Arthur Dimmesdale” Brodkorb? The guy who is now suing for wrongful termination and is holding up the state senate for $500,000 in what no less a person than Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman calls “blackmail”?

Some of the folks who had to deal with Brodkorb during his time as a senate staffer are now opening up to reporters about what it was like to have to deal with him every day:

Michael Brodkorb created a hostile work environment months before he was fired in the wake of Amy Koch’s resignation, a Republican state senator tells City Pages.

Brodkorb, the Republican Senate caucus’ former communications director, was “abusive,” “vicious,” and “threatening,” according to our source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to potential litigation. The senator says “numerous” state legislators complained to former Majority Leader Amy Koch about Brodkorb.

“He was the ultimate hostile work environment, and what we couldn’t figure out is why Koch wouldn’t fire him,” our source said. “She wouldn’t take any action against him. Well, he was the guy we found out was in control.”

“Well, he was the guy we found out was in control.” Which, if this sounds familiar to you, is likely a sign that you are already a Bluestem Prairie reader:

For months, Bluestem routinely wrote about “Majority Leader Michael Brodkorb” but we didn’t identify the manner which he drew his power from Senator Amy Koch. Now news reports and literature provide as much a glimpse as we need.

It’s true. Here and here and here are examples of this.

BSP: Where you can read Minnesota’s news three months before the StarTribune gets it — if the folks running what’s left of the Strib ever get it. I think that rates putting a little money in her tip jar, don’t you?

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Churn, Baby, Churn: Minnesota’s Republicans in Meltdown Mode

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 15, 2012

Brodkorb the Ladykiller, by

You know that scene near the end of The Wrath of Khan where the dying Khan, in full Ahab mode, sets his commandeered ship to be a time bomb intended to take out the Good Ship Enterprise, whose warp engines he knows to be disabled? That’s what I’m thinking of when I hear the latest twist in the Michael Brodkorb portions of the saga called the Fall of the House of Sutton:

A former Minnesota Senate staffer who claims he was fired because of an affair with former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch is now saying he intends to expose female staffers who had affairs with legislators and were not fired as part of a potential lawsuit.

Michael Brodkorb’s lawyer, Phillip G. Villaume, filed a notice of claims seeking more than $500,000 in damages along with attorneys’ fees for illegal termination on the basis of gender discrimination. The notice
also “reserves the right” to include invasion of privacy claims against three members of the Senate GOP leadership and two Senate staffers.

“Mr. Brodkorb has evidence that similarly situated female legislative employees, from both political parties, were not terminated from their employment positions despite intimate relationships with male legislators,” wrote Villaume in a letter dated March 13. “It is clear that Mr. Brodkorb was terminated based on his gender. He intends to depose all of the female legislative staff employees who participated in intimate relationships, as well as the legislators who were party to those intimate relationships, in support of his claims of gender discrimination.”

Brodkorb’s lawyer tried to say that the depositions would never ever become public as he was “sure” a judge would order that such information be kept confidential. But if the identities of those who would be giving depositions never became publicly known, then Brodkorb’s suit wouldn’t frighten the Republicans the way it does. (Yes, yes, the suit references persons of “both parties”, but just two months ago the Senate Republicans, on the pretext of budget-tightening, dumped nearly half of the full-time DFL legislative staffers while not firing a single Republican staffer. There are far more Republicans than Democrats remaining that are likely to be affected.) Cal Ludeman, the Secretary of the Senate and the person who actually fired Brodkorb from Brodkorb’s Senate job — which by the way was Brodkorb’s last official toehold on power at the State Capitol, he having lost his Deputy RPM Chair job last October as his ally and RPM Chair Tony Sutton’s money scandals were catching up to both him and his buddies — responded to Brodkorb’s suit by calling it an attempt “to extort a payment” from the Minnesota Senate.

You see why this makes me think of The Wrath of Khan, right? Except in this iteration, there is no noble Commander Captain Spock* standing at the ready to save the Republican Party of Minnesota from Michael Brodkorb.

Longtime readers of my FDL and Mercury Rising posts may remember the name of Michael Brodkorb. He once was the second-most-powerful Republican in Minnesota, second only to his good friend Tony Sutton himself. He and Sutton literally ordered around the RPM congressional delegation – hence Brodkorb’s position as Koch’s nominal subordinate when in fact he was her Svengali (or Rasputin, as Nick Coleman calls him).

But both Brodkorb and Sutton made shitloads of enemies, running roughshod over the members of their own caucus, especially those from the rival Tom Emmer and Allen Quist TheoCon faction. When Sutton’s money scandals took him out of the picture barely a year after he and Brodkorb had led the RPM to take both houses of the legislature, and with Sutton apparently no longer in favor with his usual sugar daddy and protector Bill Cooper Sr. (of TCF Bank infamy, and also he who bankrolled Sutton’s failed Baja Sol turkey farm scheme for fellow Republicans and other political allies), there was nothing to shield Brodkorb when Cal Ludeman made his move. However, Ludeman is not as smart as he thinks he is, and he’s likely set himself up to lose his Secretary of the Senate position as a result.

(Crossposted to MyFDL.)

*Hat tip to Margaret for the correction.

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Amy Koch: My Dimmesdale’s No Longer A Senate Staffer

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 26, 2012

Former Minnesota State Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, who resigned that post after admitting to an “inappropriate relationship” with a male Senate staffer widely suspected to be Michael Brodkorb, dropped a small hint earlier this week as to her Dimmesdale’s identity:

She [Amy Koch] said that for legal reasons she won’t name the staffer, who has since left his job at the Capitol.

Anyone care to divine how many male Senate staffers became ex-Senate staffers during the period starting December 16th, 2011 and ending January 23, the date of the interview that forms the basis for the KARE story on Senator Koch?

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Why It’s Hard To Trust Local Establishment Media Reporting, # 1238798: Their Brodkorb Addiction

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 29, 2011

As Javier Morillo Tweeted:

To MN Reporters allowing @mbrodkorb to go on the record for everything BUT – is he peddling any stories about GOP enemies when you talk?

Well, is he? Old media hand Nick Coleman sure thinks so.

Being that opposition research is Brodkorb’s stock in trade, and how he was able to have the local press corps eating out of his hand for so long, the only reason that makes sense for their reticence — especially with Koch herself, Brodkorb’s former nominal boss, admitting to it — is that they don’t want to piss off a voluble source, especially if there’s any chance he might have some dirt on them.

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Know Your RPMs: A Field Guide To Minnesota Republican Factionalism

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 23, 2011

(This is the first edition of the Guide. The most recent edition is here.)

As the current Brodkorbian-Kochian phase of the Fall of the House of Sutton unfolds, I thought it might be useful to take a stab at detailing what most local Establishment media journalists, who are either ignorant as paint or fearful of losing their precious access to GOP powerbrokers, have neglected to explain: The existence of the factions that have for years been jockeying for control of the Republican Party of Minnesota and the politicians running under their banners.

This refusal to delineate the factions and agendas of the Minnesota GOP’s most prominent players and their conservative fellow travelers makes for incoherent (as well as flat-out wrong) reporting on the key issues that affect Minnesota. For example as Sally Jo Sorensen of Bluestem Prairie explains, when Tony Sutton claimed in his farewell letter as RPM Chair that shifting responsibility for the recount from the gubernatorial campaign to the party was what the RPM gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer had wanted and not Sutton, no local establishment journalist dared contradict him even though the evidence undermining Sutton’s claims was so obvious Stevie Wonder could have seen it. Ms. Sorensen isn’t afraid to mention who is allied to whom (and who hates whom) here. Understanding this helps to understand Minnesota Republican politics, where the bigwigs in the factions carry more weight than do their stooges in the legislature.

The two main factions in the Minnesota Republican Party are the Sutton/Brodkorb/Seifert faction, and the Emmer/Tea Party/TheoCon faction. There are other, smaller groups that make or break alliances as the need arises, but the Sutton and Emmer factions are the main two to be reckoned with. One of the smaller factions, the anti-gambling CAGE faction led by Annette and Jack Meeks, has been at times allied with, and fought against, both of the big factions; conversely, the pro-gambling faction also has ties to both sides. There are individuals, such as Michael Wigley, with a foot in both camps; he backed Emmer for governor in 2010, but he’s also been close enough to the Suttons and Coopers to be given a now-defunct Baja Sol franchise as part of the Sutton-Cooper efforts to turn Baja Sol into a moneymaker turkey farm capable of providing income to Republican operatives and fellow travelers. And of course there’s the powerful group of Twin-City-suburban and Rochester-area state Senators, the Gang of Four, but their agenda is usually more about preservation of the party and its legislative caucus than anything else.

The Sutton faction is the one that is representative of the party establishment and which is generally backed by the Mr. Burns of Minnesota Republican politics, the Cooper family whose billions come from the TCF financial empire; they also (at least until last week) generally have the backing of the top Republican Senators known to Republican detractors like Sue Jeffers as the “Gang of Four”: Dave Senjem, David Hann, Geoff Michel, and Chris Gerlach. The Emmer faction has among it such marginally-electable Bible-banger folks as Minnesota’s own answer to Rick Santorum, Allen Quist.

Follow me past the jump for a chart, by no means complete, of the players, their factions, their relationships, and their desires. Feel free to tell me about any I missed.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Just When You Thought Michael Brodkorb Couldn’t Act Any Uglier

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 20, 2011

Michael Brodkorb, who with Tony Sutton has for years been a leading powerbroker in the Republican Party, seems to be having anger management issues, at the very least:

Around noon on June 5, Eagan Police were summoned to Brodkorb’s home by his wife, Sarah Beth Brodkorb, who told the responding officer that she and her husband had been having “marital issues” and had gotten into an argument that morning.

Sarah reported that Michael had thrown a kid’s toy — though it wasn’t aimed at her — during the dispute, and stormed out of the house. Michael “slammed the door causing a frame to break.”

Sarah Brodkorb called 911 because “the level of anger in Michael’s voice scared both her and their three children,” according to the police report.


At one point, the officer noticed that Sarah had “what appeared to be bruising on one of her wrists.” Sarah said the bruises came from an IV treatment.

The police report is here.

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The Ineffable Sadness Of @mbrodkorb And His Twitter Account

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 18, 2011

Poor Michael Brodkorb. How the mighty have fallen.

He, who has spent the past year playing the role of Gríma Wormtongue to Amy Koch’s Théoden (or is it in her case Éowyn?), and who with Tony Sutton has commanded the Republican caucus at the Capitol like a two-bit Svengali dominating a cadre of exceptionally weak-minded Trilbys, who had been leading the charge for Mike Parry to keep TheoCon Allen Quist from being the one to go down in defeat against Tim Walz next year, is now so far off his game that instead of starting new smears or recycling old rejected ones (the latter task having apparently been farmed out to other local Republicans), he is reduced to making Tweets like this one:

So sad.

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The Fall Of The House Of Sutton: The Brodkorb-Koch Angle

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 17, 2011

Michael Brodkorb channels his inner Hugh Hefner

It’s been a busy few days in the North Star State, as a whole battalion of chickens have come home to roost at the Republican Party of Minnesota.

First, there was the mysterious stepping-down of Amy Koch on Thursday morning from her Majority Leader post in the State Senate; she gave no real reason why she was stepping down, and also said that while she wasn’t going to run for re-election, she would retain her state Senate seat until her term expired.

That apparently wasn’t good enough for the state party leadership, because on Friday morning, it was announced that she’d been forced out over an “inappropriate relationship” with a male Senate staffer whose name was not mentioned.

Then, well after the deadlines for the six o’clock and even the nine and ten o’clock evening newscasts, it was announced that Koch’s nominal underling, Michael Brodkorb — Tony Sutton’s right-hand man and a guy who until October of this year had been the Deputy Chair of the Minnesota Republican Party and its communications boss — had resigned his job at the state Senate. (See also Tild’s lovely graphic above, which may also be found here.)

My, my.

The jockeying to replace Brodkorb’s sock puppet as Majority Leader has begun, with inspid right-wing talk-show host and freshman Senate Republican Dave Thompson already expressing interest in the gig. (Be careful what you wish for, Dave: The RPM powerbrokers, especially the Sutton-Brodkorb crew, would love to see you nominally presiding over the state Senate GOP caucus when the Republicans lose control of it next year. They’ll blame the loss on you and use it to try and vault back into power, hoping that nobody notices that their fingerprints will be all over that loss.)

Pass. The. Popcorn.

UPDATE: And now we find out that Brodkorb has resigned from the campaign of Mike Parry, who is competing with Allen Quist for the right to get a butt-kicking from Tim Walz next November. Yeah, I think we can safely say that the circumstantial evidence is piling up here.

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