Minnesota Lawyer just posted an article on today's Legislative Audit Commission meeting, which included a discussion of the June 3 report by Legislative Auditor James Nobles on the Office of Attorney General Lori Swanson.
Certainly the contents of the report -- made public a month ago -- were not a surprise. However, there were a couple of interesting new twists picked up by the reporter, Charley Shaw, who writes for one of our sister publications, the Capitol Report (a/k/a the St. Paul Legal Ledger).
As you recall in the written report, Nobles concluded that the types of allegations made by those who came forward for the investigation -- including charges of mismanagement and misconduct -- were not in purview of the Office of the Legislative Auditor, which typically investigates the uses of state funds. Nobles did call on lawmakers to consider whether attorneys who work at the AG's Office should remain "at-will" or be afforded some kind of civil-service job protections.
However, under questioning from Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-St. Louis Park, Nobles acknowledged that some of the allegations not discussed in the written report involved the use of funds. Nobles said that his office will will follow up on financial allegations involving the use of Medicaid funds in the course of its next regularly scheduled review of federal compliance.
Click here for the full Minnesota Lawyer article.
An interesting side note, we recently reported here that ACORN, a community action group, gave the Minnesota AG's Office an "A+" on its efforts to combat mortgage fraud (one of only six AG's Offices nationally to be so recognized). ACORN, as it turns out, was one of two nonprofits that got to split two-thirds of the $749,999 settlement the Minnesota AG's Office scored from Capital One. (The other third went to the state.) The AG's Office (then under Hatch) got to direct the settlement (rather than having it go into the general legislative coffers) because the settlement amount came to less than $750,000. (By just a $1! What a coincidence!) In any case, now I'm a little miffed Minnesota only got an "A+" ...
It's also worth noting that the settlement occurred under Hatch's watch, not Swanson's (although Swanson was, of course, a top deputy).