Legal Ethics

No Probe of Minn. AG's Spending Needed, Auditor Says in 'Unflattering' Review

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There is no basis to launch a full-scale investigation into expenditures by Minnesota’s attorney general, Lori Swanson, a state auditor says.

“But an unflattering portrait of a pressure-cooker environment in Swanson’s office emerged in the review from auditor James Nobles, who said allegations about the office held up in sworn testimony from seven attorneys, but didn’t provide him with enough of a basis to investigate any potential misuse of public funds,” writes the Associated Press. The allegations concern claimed pressure by Swanson to take positions with which the lawyers were uncomfortable.

The allegations were made in the midst of a hard-fought battle to unionize attorneys in the attorney general’s office and, Swanson says, reflected the campaign rather than legitimate issues, the news agency writes:

“The union organizers have been throwing mud at our office and its management in the hopes that it will advance their unlawful organizing campaign,” Swanson says in a written statement.

Nobles recommends in a letter today (PDF) to the Legislative Audit Commission that lawmakers consider giving attorneys in the attorney general’s office more job security by providing them with a different job classification. They can currently be fired at the will of the attorney general.

Additional coverage: “What’s in Nobles’ report—and what’s not” “Minn. AG Fires Staff Lawyer Critic” “Hard-Fought Attorney Union Campaign in Minn. AG’s Office”

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