Dayton strips Legislature funding, Daudt considers outside counsel

GOP leadership meeting Friday to discuss if they should hire an attorney

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Governor Dayton said Wednesday it was his idea to eliminate funding for the Legislature, but Republicans say it's not legal. They say they're meeting Friday to talk about hiring an attorney. 

In an unorthodox move, Dayton signed all the 10 budget bills to avoid a government shutdown. But he stripped funding for the legislature. He says he did so, in part, after the GOP inserted a provision into a bill that would withhold funding for the Department of Revenue unless he signed the Republican tax cuts, which he called "destructive."

The GOP leadership may file a lawsuit against the governor claiming he violated the constitution's separation of powers. Datyon said by phone Wednesday he has the authority.

"It's just blanket authority to line item veto appropriation measures. That's the basis on which I believe I was following the law and the constitution of Minnesota," he said.

"Yesterday, the governor took an unconstitutional step to defund the Legislature, attempting to silence both the House and Senate for the next four years. As I stated earlier, I am disappointed in the governor's behavior and his decision to veto our operating budget over differences he previously agreed to," said House Speaker Kurt Daudt in a statement late Wednesday. "The governor has left the Legislature no choice but to seek outside counsel in an effort to defend the people's voice at the Capitol."

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