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Even More on the Mess in Minnesota

Loriswanson It has been more than two months since we've checked in on the messy union-organizing campaign in the office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson. (See previous posts here and here.) But now we have a reason to return to the Twin Cities, as Swanson has fired one of the staff attorneys who was active in that campaign, Amy Lawler.

When last we left off in March, Swanson had placed Lawler on administrative leave via this letter from Deputy AG Karen Olson, purportedly for Lawler's failure to follow-up on her own concerns about the ethics of filing lawsuits she was assigned to handle. But in what I described then as a classic case of bad timing, Lawler's suspension came on the Monday following the Friday in which she discussed the union drive in a piece that aired on Minnesota Public Radio and in an article on the online news site, -- an article that described her as one of only two staffers who would allow herself to be identified.

Now Swanson has fired Lawler, following an investigation by University of St. Thomas Law School dean Thomas Mengler, according to the Star Tribune. The dean issued a report Tuesday that Lawler's concerns about professional ethics were unfounded. Mengler conducted the investigation at Swanson's request; a separate probe into her office by the state's legislative auditor continues. A Swanson spokesperson said that Lawler was terminated based on the report's findings and because of "other issues." The AFSCME local involved in the organizing effort circulated a statement late yesterday condemning the firing, asserting, "If these top attorneys trample the Constitution, then who will protect our rights?"

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 29, 2008 at 10:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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