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Senator: Former Majority Leader, Koch accused of improper relationship

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Former Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch had been accused of an improper relationship with a Senate staff member before her sudden resignation this week, a key Republican said Friday.

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Interim Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel declined to provide details but said staffers came to senators within the past several weeks with allegations. When Senate leaders approached Koch late Wednesday, she neither admitted nor denied the allegations but mentioned resigning, Michel said.

Michel said nothing had been resolved before Koch's sudden resignation Thursday.

Koch did not immediately return a call Friday from The Associated Press. Legislative reference materials list her as married with one child.

Michel, joined by other top Republicans, announced the allegations during a news conference that he opened by saying, "We are here with humility, sadness and shock."

Of the allegations, he said: "We do not want the Minnesota Senate to have that kind of conflict of interest. We do not want the Minnesota Senate to have that kind of work environment."

In an interview Thursday evening, Koch told the AP that her decision to leave was hers and that she was not pushed out by colleagues. She said the 2010 election cycle, in which she led a Republican takeover of the Senate, and the subsequent budget clash with Gov. Mark Dayton were "intense" and made it difficult to spend time with her high school-age daughter.

Koch, of Buffalo, was majority leader for one year after the GOP reversed decades of Democratic rule in the Senate. Republicans now have a 37-30 majority.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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