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Swanson denies pushing AG office staffers to do campaign work

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson

At MPR, Briana Bierschbach reports, “In a story published Monday evening in the Intercept, an online news outlet, former and current unnamed staffers said employee raises and promotions over Swanson’s three terms as attorney general were directly linked to ‘willingness of employees to participate in Swanson’s campaign work.’ …   The Swanson campaign swung back hard at the report Tuesday, denying the allegations and calling it a ‘political attempt to settle scores.’ … It’s not the first time the culture inside Swanson’s office has been questioned. Concerns surfaced as early as Swanson’s first term as attorney general. In her first year alone, more than 50 of 150 attorneys had either been fired or quit, and an attempt to unionize staff in the office, who are at-will employees, was pushed back by her administration.”

MPR’s story on Sunday’s police shooting says, “St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter on Tuesday said the city intends to release police body camera video as soon as possible from a Sunday incident where officers shot and killed a man. Carter said Chief Todd Axtell would release police body cam video and audio from the confrontation once the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension finished collecting statements from witnesses and officers, and after the family of the man killed had a chance to view the audio and video in private.”

Mara Gottfried of the Pioneer Press says: “A St. Paul City Council candidate was charged with another low-level crime Tuesday, this time for allegedly violating an order for protection. David Martinez, who is running for the Ward 4 council seat, was charged in Ramsey County District Court late Tuesday afternoon with one count of being in violation of a protection order, court records say. The incident is the latest in a string of erratic behavior by Martinez, authorities say.”

For the Star Tribune, Liz Sawyer writes, “Shortly after her debut as a fairy at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, Linda Clayton says entertainment director Carr Hagerman invited her back to his trailer with a group of colleagues. Hagerman complimented her acting, she said. Then, according to her recent civil suit, he slid his hand up her thigh. …The alleged 2002 incident was the start of Hagerman’s long effort to groom Clayton for sex, according to the suit she and a co-worker have brought against Mid-America Festivals Corp.”

Says Paul Walsh in the Strib, “A southern Minnesota homeowner was charged with a felony for shooting and killing a dog because he believed it was peeing on his trees. Brian J. Johnson, 63, of Good Thunder, was charged in Blue Earth County District Court last week with animal cruelty and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 30.… Jim Kuettner, Johnson’s attorney, said, ‘The dog was repeatedly coming onto Mr. Johnson’s property and [urinating], and the owner was not doing anything about it.’”

Says an MPR story, “State health officials are investigating a case of measles in a Hennepin County 5-year-old who became ill in early August shortly after returning from international travel to a region where measles is common. The child was likely infectious from July 30 through Aug. 7. Local public health staff, as well as clinic and hospital staff where the child was treated, are notifying people who may have been exposed.”

KARE-TV reports, “The newest apple developed at the University of Minnesota is finally here. First Kiss — the child of Honeycrisp. The newest apple will be available in mid-to-late August, four weeks earlier than its parent Honeycrisp. First Kiss dates back to the late 1990s when the U of M’s apple breeders David Bedford and Jim Luby attempted to breed an apple similar to the Honeycrisp.”

The Strib’s Paul Walsh writes, “Arvonne Fraser, a trailblazer for women’s rights for decades in Minneapolis and around the world, and the wife of former Mayor and U.S. Rep. Don Fraser, has died. She was 92. Fraser’s son, Tom, said his mother was at their riverside family retreat late Tuesday morning along the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix River when she “took her last breath on the beach surrounded by family and friends — the way she wanted to go.” For his entire life, Tom Fraser said, he saw firsthand in his parents a partnership that stretched from Minneapolis to Washington, D.C., and back to Minneapolis.”

KSTP-TV reports: “Police say a man initially arrested for boating while intoxicated ended up fighting with officers while naked on the St. Croix River. Sixty-year-old Jerome Seipel of Cottage Grove has been charged with three counts of battery to a law enforcement officer and three counts of resisting an officer. Hudson Police Chief Geoff Willems said the ordeal began when Seipel was placed under arrest by a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden on July 31.”

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 08/08/2018 - 07:25 am.

    Timing . . .

    Has anyone questioned the timing of the Swanson allegations? A week before the primaries? Really?

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 08/08/2018 - 09:58 am.


      Murphy announced her candidacy in November of 2016.

      Walz announced his candidacy in March of 2017.

      Swanson announces her candidacy on June 4, 2018, the day before the filing deadline- probably as an attempt to avoid media coverage of her dealings. It seems exposure to sunlight causes Swanson and that ticket to wither.

      It’s relevant because Swanson is running for governor. Or should news organizations not be allowed to report on candidates prior to an election?

    • Submitted by Roy Everson on 08/08/2018 - 10:28 am.

      Timing is obvious

      It appears she has some powerful enemies who have been waiting to see the whites of her eyes.

  2. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/08/2018 - 09:40 am.


    Questions can always be raised about the timing of allegations. Perhaps in this instance, at-will employees saw it as their best chance to make the allegations public while protecting their jobs. Whistleblower protections kick in only after an employer retaliates.

    Former employees may be motivated by a lot of things, but I wouldn’t discount the desire to see justice done. If Ms. Swanson were just going to fade away there would be no point in airing the allegations, but things are different now that she is making a vigorous bid for the Governor’s Office. If it happened to you, would you want to see your ex-boss win an election?

  3. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 08/08/2018 - 11:11 am.

    Cover up?

    I just searched the Strib website and there is ZERO mention of the Swanson story. Nothing, not even a mention of why it isn’t being covered. That’s shocking and really makes the Strib look amateurish.

  4. Submitted by Solly Johnson on 08/10/2018 - 09:19 am.


    The Intercept has a second article on August 9, which verifies that Swanson pressured people in her office as Attorney General to work on political activities on her behalf. If she is the DFL nominee, the GOP will pounce on this matter before the November election.

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