Ellison Fights To Keep Secret His Deal That Added 2 Lawyers To His Office

Private money being used to pay for agenda-driven campaigns

Ex-Rep. Keith Ellison

Billionaires have lots of money and do with it what they want.

That’s how Michael Bloomberg came to give $6 million to a State Energy and Environmental Impact Center at the New York University School of Law.

It does that by paying to install environmental lawyers in the offices of attorneys general across the country.

One of those who applied for the private assistance was Minnesota’s AG, Keith Ellison, and he was given funding estimated to cost up to $260,000 a year for two new attorneys in his office.

But Ellison, as a public official, desperately has been trying to keep those transaction provisions and contingencies private.

Bloomberg set up the SEEIC in 2017 and in 2019 Ellison asked for money, saying his office could use the additional staffing for “progressive clean energy, climate, and environmental matters.”

The details of the insider deal are being sought by Energy Policy Advocates, a nonprofit organization, to which Ellison refused, claiming the details are “nonpublic.”

The Free Beacon explained the moves by Ellison, a Democrat, are “at odds with Ellison’s rhetoric as an elected official. Just one month before his appeal, the Democrat praised an effort to archive documents generated by lawsuits filed against drug companies, writing that any ‘future deal’ with opioid manufacturers should ‘include transparency and doc disclosure.’ Three years earlier, Ellison criticized former Trump administration official Mick Mulvaney for lacking transparency because the Republican used ‘frosted’ glass in his office.”

Energy Policy Advocates, explaining the “public has a substantial interest in learning how private law firms are recruiting elected officials to further private goals,” sued Ellison, and won in court.

“It’s critical that the citizens of Minnesota be able to know what the attorney general is doing, who he is working with, who he’s deputizing to be his assistants,” explained Doug Seaton, of the Upper Midwest Law Center that is representing Energy Policy Advocates.

“We think this represents essentially a leasing out of the badge of the attorney general to third parties that have their own agenda.”

SEEIC lawyers have appeared in a number of other law enforcement offices – but only ones run by Democrats.

If Ellison loses, his communications would be turned over to a judge, who would determine if there was any reason for any of it to be confidential.


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