Recent reports from the Intercept allege that Attorney General–and DFL candidate for governor–Lori Swanson–pressured staffers to do political work for her campaign. Republican Representative Sarah Anderson of Plymouth says she’s reached out to Swanson for clarification and hasn’t heard back. Anderson says “the fact that she hasn’t sent anything–‘ok I’m going to get back to you,’ is disconcerting to me as Chair of the State Government Finance Committee. I have oversight over her office, we provide funding to the A-G’s office, and if they’re using those funds as 7 to 8 people have said, that is a clear violation of state law.” Anderson says her biggest concern is the potential “use of federal tax dollars when they’re using workers who are part of the federal Medicaid fraud unit, we could be in trouble with the federal government on that and we’ve found in other agencies when that happens, sometimes the feds take the money away from us.” Swanson denies the Intercept’s allegations and says “the billionaire behind the Intercept is an investment partner with the billionaire who controlled Accretive Health and National Arbitration Forum, which lost hundreds of millions of dollars” as a result of Swanson’s lawsuits against them for violating state consumer protection laws. Swanson says the Intercept’s stories are “nothing more than payback” for her doing her job. Here is part of the response to the allegations from Attorney General Swanson’s office:
Any employee of the Attorney General’s Office who chooses to participate in the political process, whether for Lori or another candidate, does so voluntarily on their own personal time and not while “on the clock” for the government. The office does not consider an employee’s participation in the political process, or lack thereof, in determining raises or promotions; rather, employees of the Attorney General’s Office are paid and promoted based solely on merit and their job responsibilities.