The conservative group Minnesota Future will hit airwaves in the state with an ad hitting Democratic gubernatorial nominee and former US Senator Mark Dayton over a lawsuit filed by one of his former staffers while Dayton served in the Senate. The aide alleged that Dayton fired him after the aide developed a serious heart condition. As part of his legal strategy, Dayton claimed that the laws that Congress had imposed on businesses across America didn’t apply to Congress itself — a view rejected by the Supreme Court in a unanimous ruling:
Seven years ago, the plaintiff in the case spoke publicly about his treatment by Dayton, who was already on his way to winning Time Magazine’s Worst Senator award by the end of his term:
Brad Hanson began working for Mark Dayton’s U.S. Senate campaign in the summer of 2000. Hanson helped Dayton start up a hotline to help Minnesotans trying to get their health care covered by their insurance companies. Hanson continued to run the Health Care Help Line after Dayton was elected, and also worked as Dayton’s state office manager.
Hanson says he routinely worked 60-hour weeks, and began having health problems. Hanson says he has had an irregular heartbeat since he was 25, and began having more heart problems in 2002. His doctors recommended he have surgery at the Mayo Clinic, and Hanson met with Dayton to tell him he needed to take several weeks off for the surgery.
Hanson says the meeting lasted just a couple of minutes, ending, Hanson says, when Dayton told him, “you’re done.”
“I thought he was kidding at first,” Hanson says. “In fact, what I really expected him to say was, ‘You go home, you take care of yourself, what are you doing here?’ That’s what I expected. This was the Mark I knew, I thought.”
“That isn’t what he said,” Hanson recalls. “He said, ‘I won’t have dissension here.’ I said, ‘Mark, what dissension?’ He said, ‘You know, you put yourself above other people.’ And I said, ‘Can you tell me how?’ And he wouldn’t say anything, he just got rigid and he just sat and looked at me.”
Dayton’s office claimed that Hanson got canned for not responding to constituent complaints, but after losing at the Supreme Court on their primary claim of immunity, Dayton had to settle with Hanson. Not only did he settle with Hanson, though, he initially left taxpayers on the hook for the payment. Only after getting questioned about the arrangements of the settlement did Dayton finally indemnify taxpayers against his own malfeasance.
Tom Emmer is his Republican opponent, and be sure to lend your support.