FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 9, 2020
Katie Fulkerson, 812-369-1751 (cell)
(St. Paul, MN) – A new lawsuit cites evidence that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office made a deal with a special interest group to pursue its agenda in exchange for the group’s placement of paid lawyers in his public office. Despite an initial lawsuit filed nearly one year ago, Ellison continues to hide public data regarding these privately-funded lawyers and their work, prompting this second lawsuit.
The complaint declares, “The public has a substantial interest in the practice of private institutions recruiting elected officials to place privately hired individuals in public offices to further private goals.”
The lawsuit is brought by Minnesota nonprofit public interest law firm Upper Midwest Law Center and its co-counsel, the nonprofit public interest law firm Government Accountability & Oversight, P.C., on behalf of the State of Washington-based Energy Policy Advocates.
The arrangement is illegal according to Minnesota Statutes Section 8.06, which provides that only the attorney general can represent the state and its agencies. The statute further clarifies that “no additional counsel shall be employed and the legal business of the state shall be performed exclusively by the attorney general and the attorney general’s assistants.”
“This case spotlights Attorney General Ellison’s stubborn insistence on serving the special interests of billionaire Michael Bloomberg and New York University – and not the interests of Minnesotans – through the office of what is supposed to be Minnesota’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer. Energy Policy Advocates’ data requests have yielded more and more data showing that Mr. Ellison has indeed allowed Mr. Bloomberg and NYU to plant attorneys within our Office of Attorney General to pursue their outside special agenda. Despite the AG’s mandate to be transparent to Minnesotans, he continues to refuse to show Minnesotans what his office is doing. This lawsuit seeks to open the books further to discover his involvement with other states’ attorney generals with whom he is collaborating in the same scheme,” said attorney Doug Seaton, President of Upper Midwest Law Center.