Leftwing Special Interests Use AG Keith Ellison To Attack Enemies

“We think this is a hijacking of public office,” Seaton said. 

Keith Ellison

Ellison for rent

Leftwing billionaire Michael Bloomberg has been attempting to influence U.S. politics for many years. But funding races is expensive, especially when the public doesn’t agree with your agenda of total “gun control” and radical environmentalism. 

So Bloomberg is going a different route. The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Bloomberg has been staffing attorneys in state Attorneys General offices, in order to influence the direction of policy in the states where the state AG allows him in.

Specifically, NYU Law School’s State Energy and Environmental Impact Center (SEEIC) was created after a $6 million grant from Bloomberg, and now aims to offer its services to state AG offices. 

Of course, disgraced leftwing politician and former New York AG, Eric Schneiderman—who resigned after a spate of physical and sexual abuse allegations—was eager to bring Bloomberg’s lawyers into the New York AG office. The goal was to extract money from energy producers. 

The reason this is troubling is best stated by the WSJ’s editorial board

“The ethical problems here should be obvious. Private interests are leveraging the police powers of the state to pursue their political agenda, while a government official is letting private interests appear to influence enforcement decisions. None of this is reassuring about the fair administration of justice.” 

According to the Wall Street Journal at the time of the article in late 2018, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Illinois, and the District of Columbia had brought in a “special assistant attorney general” from the Bloomberg-funded SEEIC. 

Bloomberg’s attorneys in Ellison’s AG office

Now, it has emerged that Minnesota has been added to that list of states.

Doug Seaton, President of Upper Midwest Law Center, just held a press conference at the Minnesota State Capitol where he announced that his organization is suing Minnesota AG Keith Ellison’s office over the issue. In the suit, Seaton is seeking information that Ellison has so-far refused to release surrounding the involvement of the Bloomberg-funded lawyers in Ellison’s office.

“This is not a fishing expedition because we know these [Bloomberg-funded] lawyers are there,” Seaton said. 

Seaton went on to point out the Linked-In profile of attorney Pete Surdo, who wrote on his page

“After 15 years working at Robins Kaplan LLP, I am off on a new adventure as a Fellow with the NYU School of Law’s State Impact Center. I will be embedded with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office as an Environmental Litigator and Special Assistant Attorney General.”

Seaton continued: “Just yesterday [Surdo] was the one signing a complaint on behalf of the State of Minnesota in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the [Trump] EPA’s efforts to modify the emissions standards applicable under the Clean Air Act.” 

“We think this is a hijacking of public office,” Seaton said. 

Seaton also outlined how current law in Minnesota says this public-private arrangement was not proper. “That’s not the way to run a public entity,” Seaton continued.

Doug Seaton and the Upper Midwest Law Center’s complaint can be read here. Going forward, Seaton wants to know how this decision was made, and who else in Ellison’s office is from the Bloomberg-funded NYU center. A Ramsey County court is now hearing the matter, and once Seaton receives the information currently being withheld by Ellison he plans to pursue the case further, in order to keep Ellison in compliance with Minnesota law.— 


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Willis Krumholz

Willis L. Krumholz is a fellow at Defense Priorities. He holds a JD and MBA degree from the University of St. Thomas, and works in the financial services industry. The views expressed are those of the author only. You can follow Willis on Twitter @WillKrumholz.