Amy Koch (from Wikipedia)

(PW notes: Important updates are at the bottom of the story. Read all the way through!) Here’s where Phoenix shows her age: How many of you out there remember Peyton Place — the book, the film, or the TV series?

For those not in the know, Peyton Place is the story of a small town that looks and pretends to be wholesome and hyper-moral on the surface, but is just rife with all sorts of inappropriate sexual and other sorts of hanky-panky — hanky-panky that in many cases was based on real-life events. For example: One of the pivotal parts of the novel, a girl’s killing of the stepfather who abused her, is based on the real-life story of Barbara Roberts, who came from a family said to be politically prominent locally — and who in December of 1946 shot her father after she and her sister had suffered years of rapes at his hands.

Having chronicled some of the more outré happenings of the Republican Party of Minnesota, I keep thinking of Peyton Place — and most especially now, now that Amy Koch, less than a year after being sworn in as Majority Leader of the Minnesota State Senate, has resigned as Majority Leader:

Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch resigned her post Thursday after she was confronted by GOP Senate leaders about allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a Senate staffer, according to high level State Capitol sources.

Those sources confirmed that four Republican Senators held an emergency meeting with Koch Wednesday night, after multiple Senate staffers reported the possible improper conduct.

Now, when Koch, who is married, first announced her stepping down from the Majority Leader job on Thursday, there was no hint or indication of any sort of scandal, or any reason at all for her quitting; she just said she was stepping down to have more time with her family, and that while while she was no longer Majority Leader, she would keep her Senate seat though she wouldn’t be running for re-election for that seat. That apparently wasn’t good enough for the people who forced her to quit the leadership gig, because yesterday, the very next day, the news was leaked about why she was quitting the gig.

One interesting, and darkly ironic, thing here: Even as she’s had the Scarlet Letter publicly stapled to her chest by her fellow Republicans, her male partner in naughtiness — the Reverend Dimmesdale to her Hester Prynne — has so far not only gone unpunished, he’s gone unnamed. In other words, as is all too typical with these sorts of events, she gets the public shaming and disgrace, whereas he suffers only whatever his conscience might choose to mete out to him — and being that he is a staffer in the the Republican Senate Caucus of the Minnesota State Legislature, I think we can safely assume that his conscience isn’t likely to give him anything near what the silver-tongued great communicator Dimmesdale’s conscience gave him.

The persons running the Republican Party of Minnesota wanted to show they really weren’t a bunch of sexist slobs by having The First Female Senate Majority Leader, yet when she and a male staffer were found to be doing the horizontal bop, she and only she is the one who loses her job — just as typically happens when a male boss in private industry is caught in an affair with a female subordinate. (I have witnessed this twice myself, at two different workplaces: Both times, it was the woman whose career suffered the most by far.)

The Republican Party of Minnesota really needs to stop this double standard in its tracks. Or do they really believe that, when it comes to inappropriate office affairs, only the woman should pay the price?

UPDATE: Well, well, well (and a hat tip to Mark Gisleson in the comments). This goes beyond “Friday afternoon news dump”:

​Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch resigned her leadership position Thursday after fellow Republicans confronted her about an “inappropriate relationship” she was having with a direct subordinate.

Senate Republicans have declined to name the staffer, but rumors began flying this afternoon that it was Republican powerbroker Michael Brodkorb, Koch’s communications chief. Those rumors have intensified following the news that Brodkorb is no longer working at the Senate, which was revealed in an email sent by Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel to staff late Friday afternoon.

Other local news outlets are following City Pages’ Gregory Pratt’s lead and are now connecting the dots between Brodkorb’s late-Friday-afternoon resignation and Koch’s fall from grace. Have we found our Reverend Dimmesdale?

For more on who Michael Brodkorb is — namely, a running buddy of Tony Sutton and up until Sutton’s fall from power, the second-most-powerful Republican in the state party apparatus, able like Sutton to order around legislators and tell Koch and House Speaker Kurt Zellers what to do — go here.