Regarding Senator Newman, I Think You Are Asking The Wrong Question…

I have to be honest, I haven’t been following the “Newman Scandal” very closely but all of the coverage and questions I have seen have been directed toward Senator Newman and what he knew about this particular email sent to the Minnesota Nurses Association. While those are all legitimate questions I have to wonder if the people writing about this aren’t asking the wrong questions.

From what I understand about legislative assistants at the capitol they are hired on a partisan basis and can be partisan. Additionally, they are trained by each caucus. The only apparent restriction placed on them is that they cannot fundraise or solicit votes. So, if we take Mr. Newman at his word that he had no knowledge of this email and it was all the doing of his legislative assistant, shouldn’t the question be WHO IS TRAINING THESE PEOPLE AND WHAT ARE THEY TELLING THEM TO DO ON BEHALF OF THE ELECTED OFFICIAL THEY SERVE?

  • Does the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus train its legislative assistants to deny access to certain people and organizations?
  • What does the training manual for the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus say about denying access to certain people and organizations?
  • Given the dual role of “Executive Assistant to the Majority Caucus” and “Vice Chair of the Minnesota Republican Party“, has Michael Brodkorb been whispering in the ears of legislative assistants? Did those assistants take his advice a little too far?

A large number of these legislative assistants are on twitter and tweeting throughout the day so maybe someone could start asking them directly what they were told to do about organizations and individuals who opposed the elected official for whom they work. If this legislative assistant simply “made a mistake” then I have to wonder how her training was conducted to make her think this type of behavior was appropriate. These are the questions we should be asking…

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  • Tbeckfeld

    You are asking the right questions? Finally someone gets it!

    This isn’t as much about Newman as it is about the entire La system. La’s are paid for by tax dollars and like all state employees they are supposed to be acting on behave of all the taxpaying citizens of the state.

    The training (or apparent lack of it) by the new majority rests in the hands of the leaders of the respected caucus’s. Combine that with the fact that Newman is a judge and has served for 2 years in the house previous to this and something smells rotten.

    I still think Newman is lying about what he knew and when he knew it, a properly trained La should have seen red flags and questioned either Newman or the senate Republican caucus about deciding who can see Newman based on a purely partisan basis.

    The Democratic La’s I’ve dealt with have been cautious to the point of paranoid about mixing campaigning with caucus work. It simply isn’t tolerated on taxpayer’s time or in doing the work of the state.

    It looks like the new majority is less concerned about this.

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  • Nancygertner

    Good questions. Did you know that the “Majority Shift” caused about 60 state workers to be “displaced” in January? The group was so large as to qualify for retraining from MN DEED (MN Jobs Agency). This shows that when it comes to hiring Legislative Assistants and committee staff, that experience is less important than party affiliation! You can imagine the collective experience of the 60 people displaced. Probably a minimum of two years in state government. Some, like the LA of Senator Vickerman who retired and didn’t run for office in 2010, had many years of experience and were sharp as a tack.

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