Minnesota Attorney General Praises Transparency While Ignoring It Himself

In a recent Minneapolis Star Tribune op-ed, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison swears that his office has been completely transparent about the climate lawsuit it filed against energy companies and trade associations in June 2020. However, rather than extricating him from the public criticism being leveled against his office around the case – specifically, the use of outside attorneys from a New York University School of Law fellowship program – Ellison’s op-ed instead shows the extent to which he tried to keep the arrangement hidden.

Responding to an op-ed criticizing his practices, Ellison declares:

“I have been transparent about the money that pays the salaries of employees in the Attorney General’s Office.”

That an attorney general even needs to qualify who “pays the salaries” of his employees is enough to raise eyebrows. Ellison is forced to admit that the two attorneys are paid for by the NYU Law School:

“Because the number of attorneys in our office has shrunk by half over the past two decades while the threats Minnesotans face have gotten more complex, I’ve successfully sought outside help at no cost to taxpayers, including two attorneys funded by NYU. They report to me and no one else. They, like me, owe a duty only to Minnesotans and no one else.” (emphasis added)

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