While Jennifer Carnahan has resigned from her role as chairwoman of the Minnesota GOP following a week of controversies, the manner of her departure hasn't gone down well with some in the party.
The party's executive board met Thursday night to discuss Carnahan's future in the wake of the indictment of Anton Lazzaro, and the emergence of numerous sexual misconduct and harassment complaints within the party under Carnahan's leadership.
It became apparent over the course of the meeting that they were indeed discussing her departure from the party, with talk turning to a possible severance package.
While Carnahan had sought eight months' severance, the board took a vote on a three month severance package – worth in excess of $38,000 – that saw the board locked in a vote of 7-7.
But then, Carnahan herself cast the deciding vote to break the tie, effectively granting herself a $38,000 payout. Within minutes, she had issued a statement confirming her resignation from the party, blaming "mob mentality" for her ousting.
That Carnahan was able to vote on her own severance sparked criticism from some in attendance and those not.
Sherri Auclair, a Minnesota GOP Central Committee delegate, told reporters outside the meeting: "To know that money I gave is going into her pocket because that's the only way that she will walk away is for money, you don't tell me that she cares anything about the party and where we will go in the future in the party, she only cares about herself and money in her pocket.
"There were even two people on the board saying I will give $5,000 to the party so we have more money to give Carnahan. I'm disgusted, absolutely disgusted."
A tweet posted by Carnahan after the meeting added fuel to the fire given that it also included a champagne bottle emoji.
Also critical of the severance package was executive board member Bobby Benson, who voted against giving Carnahan the payoff, and who told MPR News' Brian Bakst that he asked Carnahan – who was appearing via Zoom – to recuse herself from the vote.
"She has put our party in the situation that is really going to hurt us in the public," Benson told Bakst. "More importantly, she's really hurt people."
Carnahan retained some supporters on the board, including two who made the aforementioned $5,000 donation offer, as well as one who criticized Benson for opposing the severance deal.
After Carnahan's resignation, Sen. Karin Housley (R–Stillwater), who was one of the first elected Republicans to call for her to step down, said: "What transpired over the past week involving our state party has been shocking and embarrassing. A culture of distrust and disrespect has clearly permeated party leadership and it cannot be allowed to continue.
"I want to thank the individuals who courageously stepped forward to share their stories. There is absolutely no excuse for the abusive, toxic, and retaliatory behavior they endured. I also want to thank the leaders in our party who stood with them. Speaking out against such behavior shouldn't be a tough call."