ST. PAUL (WCCO) -- For some Minnesota Senate Republicans, all bets are off on if or when there will be a government shutdown -- literally.
A spokesman for the GOP Senate Caucus says a shutdown office betting pool organized by a single staffer was a "colossally stupid idea."
A copy of the pool, obtained by WCCO-TV, has a suggested $1 fee to enter, and allows participants to select dates of a possible first and second special session.
It also asks for predictions for a government shutdown, and how long it might last.
"This is an 'IN-HOUSE" document," according to the rules of the pool, "intended for staff only-just for fun. Thanks, and good luck".
"This is disgusting," said Eliot Seide, the head of AFSCME, Minnesota's largest state workers union. "Thanks and good luck? Make a bet on how long our people are going to be out of work? What kind of sick people are these?"
Republicans say the pool was never distributed.
"It's incredibly inappropriate", said Michael Brodkorb, Executive Assistant to the Senate GOP Caucus, who said neither he nor any Republican leaders were aware of the pool. "It wasn't distributed. Copies were discarded and no bets were taken."
Republicans leaders and the Democratic Governor are trying to reach a budget deal by July 1, when the state runs out of money and the government shuts down.
Next week, 36,000 layoff notices will be sent to state workers who will not be paid during a shutdown.
"What kind of game do they think this is to play with 36,000 children, their parents and families?" asked Seide. "They think this is fun and a game? This is unacceptable."
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