Endorsement: Re-elect Swanson Attorney General
Lori Swanson's record as Minnesota's attorney general might not be without blemish, but her performance has been good enough to justify her re-election. She has distinguished herself as a people's AG by using resources to ensure Minnesota residents are not abused by scam artists and unethical business people. She's only been at it for part of one term, but she seems to have focused the office's limited resources on the people who need the AG's help most.
Among her areas of concentration are toughening sex abuse laws, protecting residents against insurance fraud and more emphasis on preventing identity theft.
That being said, talk of high staff turnover and low office morale is more than rumor. Allegations of unethical conduct and her perceived improper political involvement can undermine the office's credibility. Swanson has to address those concerns, both real and rumor.
Challenger Chris Barden is as competent and experienced a lawyer as any in the nation. He is highly qualified to be Minnesota's attorney general. Barden is among those suggesting Swanson's office is not run well. He says Swanson presides over "a culture of dishonesty." Those are serious allegations, which, thus far, are only that.
Swanson's two years in office have been rocky at times. But Barden's charges seem over the top. Swanson seems to be moving the office in the right direction for Minnesotans. She hasn't been on job long enough to emerge completely from the shadow of former Attorney General Mike Hatch. She should have that chance. She should be re-elected Nov. 2.