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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Disclaimer: Affiant Sharon Scarrella Anderson also Objects to MN AG Lori Swanson's
wilful neglience and wilful failure to defend the Statutes of the State of Minnesota
Filed Ramsey Co. Dist. Court 2nd Judicial District 62cv10-112 Judge Dale B. Lindman
http://mngop.com/news.asp?artid=269

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Apr 21, 2010MNGOP RESEARCH BRIEFING: The Swanson Record
THE SWANSON RECORD
Office Turmoil, Lavish Spending, Government Run Health Care

SWANSON IS HATCH CLONE IN ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE DESCRIBED AS “HELLISH”
Minn Post: “Attorneys And Other Subordinates Describe Working For Hatch And Swanson As Hellish.” “But as attorney general from 1999 to 2007, Hatch traumatized the AG's office. His bare-knuckled style tested the boundaries of acceptable conduct, stretching across matters of law, politics and especially the norms of Minnesota niceness. Attorneys and other subordinates describe working for Hatch and Swanson as hellish, featuring verbal abuse and pressure to do things they believed were unethical, and to put Hatch's political needs foremost.” (Eric Black, “An explanation for recent agonies in attorney general’s office: Mike Hatch’s traumatic reign,” MinnPost.com, May 28, 2008)
Office Climate Called “Dysfunctional” Under Swanson. “Attorneys under Hatch (with Swanson as one of his top lieutenants) felt pressured to skate on ethical thin ice. They also felt that if they pushed back, they would face consequences from verbal abuse to a sudden loss of standing in the office, up to and including being forced out. The Hatch-Swanson bond is so deep that the change in administration produced little improvement in the dysfunctional office climate. Therefore, the current turmoil is not a reaction to a new AG taking office. The turnover and the union movement are best understood as the result of many attorneys concluding that little would change.” (Eric Black, “An explanation for recent agonies in attorney general’s office: Mike Hatch’s traumatic reign,” MinnPost.com, May 28, 2008)
Mass Departures Have Marked Swanson Tenure. “During their combined nine-plus years in office, Hatch and Swanson have extracted forced resignations from scores of subordinates. Others left because they could not abide the working environment. The more than 50 assistant attorneys general (out of a total of about 135) who have departed in the last year and a half include many who were heart-broken when it became clear that Hatch's protégé, Swanson, would be the new AG. One source told me the office ‘was like a morgue the day after the primary’ in September 2006, in which Swanson, with substantial political assistance from Hatch, had defeated the DFL endorsee, state Sen. Steve Kelley.” (Eric Black, “An explanation for recent agonies in attorney general’s office: Mike Hatch’s traumatic reign”, MinnPost.com, May 28, 2008)
“Some assumed that meant that the dysfunctional office environment would continue, since they viewed Swanson as a Hatch clone. Some left. Others began job-hunting. Some hung on, hoping that once Hatch had cleared the scene, Swanson might establish a saner environment. Then, after Swanson won the general election and Hatch lost his bid for governor, Swanson stunned the office by bringing Hatch himself back into the office. That clinched it for those who had hoped for a change. The departures continued.” (Eric Black, “An explanation for recent agonies in attorney general’s office: Mike Hatch’s traumatic reign”, MinnPost.com, May 28, 2008)
“One source said that when alumni of the office meet and compare war stories, they resemble a group of abuse victims who are still trying to reassure themselves and each other that the abuse was not their fault. Because the bitter union battle has created a circle of disaffected staff, I took pains to get outside the circle. I sought out people to whom I have not been referred by the union organizers. The consensus was affirmed again and again. A long-serving attorney, still in the office, said that, under both Hatch and Swanson, ‘it's a cult-like atmosphere. They demand blind obedience. Nobody's criticism is tolerated.’” (Eric Black, “An explanation for recent agonies in attorney general’s office: Mike Hatch’s traumatic reign”, MinnPost.com, May 28, 2008)
Swanson’s Office Investigated For Ethical Misconduct. “The state legislative auditor is launching an investigation into allegations of ethical misconduct in Attorney General Lori Swanson's office, which has been wracked by months of turmoil and turnover. Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles said the preliminary probe could take weeks, after which he will decide whether to conduct an in-depth inquiry. He announced the investigation at a Legislative Audit Commission meeting after assuring members of the bipartisan panel that he wouldn't conduct ‘a broad-ranging fishing expedition’ dealing with mere labor grievances. Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-St. Louis Park, called on Nobles to pursue allegations that assistant attorneys general were pressured to begin investigations without merit, sue prematurely and file incorrect information in affidavits.” (Pat Doyle, “Attorney general’s office to be scrutinized”, Star Tribune, March 28, 2008)

FORMER SWANSON ATTORNEYS ALLEGE UNETHICAL & UNLAWFUL BEHAVIOR
Former Attorneys Allege “Unethical And Unlawful Behavior” In Swanson’s Office. “The WCCO I-TEAM first told you about expensive, sound-proof doors in the Attorney General's Office. Now there are allegations of unethical and unlawful behavior from two former lawyers in the office speaking publicly for the first time.” (“I-TEAM: MN AG Accused Of Being Unethical, Unlawful,” WCCO TV, April 20, 2009)
Former Medicaid Fraud Attorney: “The Problem I Found In The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Was An Attempt To Deceive The Office Of Inspector General.” “Paul Civello was a Medicaid fraud attorney under former DFL Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch and his successor, the DFLer Swanson. ‘It was always political mode,’ said Civello. In an interview with the I-TEAM, Civello said employees were routinely pressured into working on high profile cases intended only to bring publicity and political attention to the boss. But there's more to his charges than just politics. ‘The problem I found in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit was an attempt to deceive the Office of Inspector General (about the make up of the unit),’ said Civello.” (“I-TEAM: MN AG Accused Of Being Unethical, Unlawful,” WCCO TV, April 20, 2009)
“Civello makes the claims in a sworn affidavit, in which he describes ‘misconduct’ by two successive Democratic Attorneys General, the top law enforcement officers in the state. In one case, said Civello, a lawyer was hired under a different title in order to receive federal funding. Another attorney, who still works in the AG's office, writes in a memo that ‘this amounted to fraud.’” (“I-TEAM: MN AG Accused Of Being Unethical, Unlawful,” WCCO TV, April 20, 2009)
Swanson Attacked Attorneys Who Alleged Misconduct. “Swanson declined WCCO's request for an on-camera interview, but she is hitting back; hard. In an unusually blunt written response to Civello's claims, Swanson calls him a ‘bitter’ man, part of a group of disgruntled former employees who, she said, ‘wallow in despair.’” (“I-TEAM: MN AG Accused Of Being Unethical, Unlawful,” WCCO TV, April 20, 2009)
“But other former employees are rallying to Civello's defense. ‘It's a typical vicious attack that I've become accustomed to seeing from Lori Swanson and Mike Hatch’ according to Martin Carlson, a lawyer who worked in the Attorney General's Consumer Enforcement Office. Carlson describes an atmosphere of intimidation, where he says all employees were asked to work for the headlines. ‘The adage was: Once the publicity's over, the case is over,’ said Carlson.” (“I-TEAM: MN AG Accused Of Being Unethical, Unlawful,” WCCO TV, April 20, 2009)

SWANSON’S LAVISH SPENDING
Swanson Spends Lavishly On Office Digs. “In these penny-pinching times, did Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson install $15,000 doors in her office out of vanity or in a need for greater security in an insecure world? What about the new $6,000 carpet? Just a need for change or to address a hazard from leaky toilets above? Since 2006, the attorney general's office has spent more than $400,000 on repairs, alterations and maintenance in its offices.” (Mark Brunswick, “Are the renovations at the attorney general’s office too rich?” Star Tribune, April 2, 2009)
Senator Questions Swanson’s Spendy Renovations. “Hann's letter followed reports that Swanson, a DFLer, sought a security assessment after taking office in 2007 and that the two solid oak doors were installed shortly afterward. Swanson has said the doors replaced two with windows leading into her office. Each of the doors, described as sound-attenuating in billing records, was valued at about $5,000, with installation requiring an additional $2,500 apiece. Hann's letter also asked Nobles' office to investigate the timing of the installation, which was ordered within weeks of reports of office turmoil over some attorneys attempting to organize a union. Installation of the doors and a $6,000 replacement of carpeting in Swanson's office were first reported by WCCO-TV, generating questions about whether they were a wise use of taxpayer dollars. ‘I'm concerned about what happened with the security assessment that she says that she conducted. What was done with that assessment? Who paid for it? What was the scope of it?’ asked Hann, a member of the Legislative Audit Commission. ‘It seems a little strange to me that it occurred without anyone else knowing there were security issues at the Capitol. If a constitutional officer says we have a security risk that requires some extraordinary things to be done, I think that should be known,’ he said.” (Mark Brunswick, “Sen. Hann questions attorney general’s security doors”, Star Tribune, April 3, 2009)

SWANSON REWARDS ACORN
Questions Raised About Hatch/Swanson’s Role In Sending $249,999 In State Settlement Money To ACORN. “Attorney General Lori Swanson and her predecessor, Mike Hatch, have come under question for their role in a court settlement that diverted money to a nonprofit whose political wing endorsed Hatch's bid for governor. Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles recently asked Swanson and Hatch to explain the 2006 settlement, which required a credit card company accused of violating consumer protection laws to give $249,999 to a community advocacy organization, Minnesota ACORN. Its political action committee endorsed Hatch three weeks later. The money for ACORN was part of a $749,999 settlement agreed to by Capital One. The dollar figure is significant because state law requires that settlement money go to the state -- except when the amount is less than $750,000. ‘The dollar amount ... initially, was the major thing that caught my attention,’ Nobles told the Legislative Audit Commission Monday, calling it ‘somewhat suspicious.’” (Pat Doyle, “AG office queried about diverted funds”, Star Tribune, June 30, 2008)
“The arrangement came in for criticism by Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-St. Louis Park, who said there were allegations from critics of Hatch and Swanson that ‘there was an opportunity for a settlement higher than that.’” (Pat Doyle, “AG office queried about diverted funds”, Star Tribune, June 30, 2008)
ACORN Endorsed Lori Swanson For Attorney General In 2006. (“Voters Guide: Attorney General,” Star Tribune, September 6, 2006)
ACORN Graded Swanson’s Performance An A+. (Neal St. Anthony, David Phelps, H.J. Cummins, “Inside Track; New future, new name,” Star Tribune, June 16, 2008)

ORGANIZED LABOR TRASHES SWANSON
Swanson Gets Into Fight With AFSCME. “The state's largest public employees union and the Minnesota attorney general are locked in a dispute over the firing of one of its lawyers who said she had tried to organize a union during a flurry of staff departures in the past three months. Kari Ferguson, an assistant attorney general, was fired last week after handing out union solicitation cards, according to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Solicitor General Al Gilbert said the dismissal ‘was not based on any union activities.’ He declined to say why Ferguson was dismissed, citing employee privacy laws. The dispute exposes an unusual rift between Attorney General Lori Swanson, a top DFL officer holder, and a large labor union that Democrats rely on for political support. AFSCME endorsed Swanson in her run for attorney general last year.” (Pat Doyle, “DFL rift exposed in fight between AG’s office, union”, Star Tribune, April 27, 2007)
AFSCME Regrets Endorsing Lori Swanson. “Turning up the heat in a rare and rancorous dispute between organized labor and a top DFL official, the head of the state's largest public employees union denounced Attorney General Lori Swanson Friday and regretted endorsing her candidacy. ‘Four words disgust us today: ‘AFSCME endorsed Lori Swanson,'-‘ said Eliot Seide, executive director of Council 5 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Seide said that lawyers working for Swanson described ‘intimidation and harassment’ by managers, and that those conditions spurred them to seek union protection. He called on her to support the organizing effort and legislation allowing any future union to negotiate a contract. He also demanded that she rehire an assistant attorney general the union says was fired for organizing.” (Pay Doyle, “Swanson-union dispute intensifies”, Star Tribune, April 28, 2007)
AFSCME Won’t Endorse Swanson. “As an aside, AFSCME Council 5 did not endorse the other DFL statewide officeholder, Attorney General Lori Swanson. No surprise there. Munt confirmed that AFSCME ‘will not be endorsing Swanson.’" (Sarah Janacek, “Politics in Minnesota Weekly Report”, The Legal Ledger, March 12, 2010)
Minnesota House Of Representatives Voted Unanimously To Investigate Swanson. “By Friday evening, the House had voted 129-0 to ask the Rules Committee to investigate whether Swanson used union-busting tactics to stop organizing efforts in her office, or improperly fired assistant attorneys general. (Ruben Rosario, Jennifer Bjorhus, and Bill Salisbury, “Legislators, union enter attorney general’s fray”, Pioneer Press, April 27, 2007)
Lawyers Want To Unionize To Help With Working Conditions. “The union has accused Swanson of abruptly firing Assistant Attorney General Kari Jo Ferguson last week for collecting union membership cards. ‘They have shared their stories about political patronage, fear, intimidation and humiliating working conditions,’ Seide said of attorneys in the office. ‘Now is the time for Lori Swanson to confer about working conditions. And there's nothing stopping her in asking worker-friendly legislators to change the statute, the Public Employees Relations Act.’ Seide demanded that Swanson recognize the union for the purpose of meeting with the lawyers to talk about working conditions and to press for legislation to allow the union to negotiate contracts on behalf of the attorneys. ‘We expect nothing less from a candidate who carries our endorsement,'’ Seide said. Those work conditions include a pattern of micromanagement as well as abrupt and unpredictable reassignments, dismissals and outright firings, the union alleged.” (Ruben Rosario, Jennifer Bjorhus, and Bill Salisbury, “Legislators, union enter attorney general’s fray”, Pioneer Press, April 27, 2007)
Union Passes Out Anti-Swanson Fliers at DFL Convention. “The dust-up between state Attorney General Lori Swanson and union officials trying to organize lawyers in her office continued at the state DFL convention. The union -- the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5 -- handed out leaflets criticizing Swanson, a DFLer. ‘Union Busting Is Disgusting!’ the leaflet stated. ‘Tell Attorney General Swanson to stop union busting and recognize the union chosen by her staff attorneys.’ Swanson has been criticized for her management tactics, while the union's efforts to take on an office traditionally friendly to labor have raised eyebrows.” (Mike Kaszuba, “Swanson is target of union leaflets”, Star Tribune, June 9, 2008)
Lawyer Who Raised Ethical Concerns In AG’s Office Suspended. “A lawyer in the Minnesota Attorney General's office who has been an advocate for a union organizing effort has been placed on administrative leave, a few days after she openly raised ethical concerns about how several lawsuits were filed. A spokesman for Attorney General Lori Swanson said Assistant Attorney General Amy Lawler was disciplined for failing to go through proper channels to voice her concerns, not for her union-related activity. In a letter to legislative leaders, Swanson, a DFLer, accused union leaders of attempting to ‘stir the pot’ with the controversy as part of a campaign to organize attorneys in the office. Lawler, who has worked for the office since November, did not return telephone calls on Tuesday but told the Associated Press that she was exploring her options. She said her suspension on Monday, first reported by the online newspaper MinnPost.com, serves as a ‘chilling message’ to other attorneys who might consider speaking up about the way the office is run. ‘I don't think this would have happened if I weren't active in the union-organizing effort,’ Lawler said.” (Mark Brunswick and Pat Doyle, “Assistant attorney general advocating union is suspended”, Star Tribune, March 12, 2008)

SWANSON BACKS OBAMACARE
Swanson Won’t Join Other States In Opposing ObamaCare; Instead Files Brief Supporting It. “Minnesota's Republican governor and Democratic attorney general are locked in a clash of wills over the national health reforms that have sparked political confrontations across the country. On Monday, Attorney General Lori Swanson responded to Pawlenty's request that she consider having Minnesota join other states in suing the federal government. Swanson not only declined, but informed Pawlenty that she will file a friend-of-the-court brief defending the new health care law. … Republican attorneys general in 14 states have sued together or separately to overturn the law, arguing that Congress exceeded its authority in passing it. In rejecting the call for Minnesota to file a lawsuit, Swanson, in a written opinion, said Congress has wide latitude to pass laws to tax and spend and to regulate interstate commerce.” (Pat Doyle, “AG Swanson won’t sue feds”, Star Tribune, April 6, 2010)
Every Elected Republican At State Capitol Had Urged On Swanson To Join Suit. “Every GOP state legislator has signed a letter urging Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care bill. Republicans argue that the legislation violates the constitution by requiring individuals to have health insurance or face a financial penalty. ‘This is an assault on our Constitution,’ said Sen. Julianne Ortman, GOP-Chanhassen, at a press conference this morning. ‘Our attorney general needs to step up and act immediately.’ At least 12 other states, including Virginia, Florida and Nebraska, have expressed an intention to immediately challenge the law in the courts. Gov. Tim Pawlenty sent a similar letter to Swanson, a Democrat, yesterday accusing congress of ‘overstepping its bounds.’” (Paul Demko, “Republicans urge Minnesota attorney general to file lawsuit over health care bill”, Legal Ledger, March 23, 2010)
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