Strib reporter busts Dayton

Rachel E. Stassen-Berger caught Gov. Dayton lying about the ‘pro bono’ work David Lillehaug did during the Dayton/DFL shutdown of 2011:

When Gov. Mark Dayton contracted with prominent attorney David Lillehaug in 2011 to handle the legal issues arising out of the state government shutdown, the governor’s office said Lillehaug’s work would be pro bono. The news release announcing the contract defined pro bono as “without cost to the state.”

But after that July shutdown ended, the governor agreed to change the contract with Lillehaug.

“In August 2011, the Governor signed an amendment that changed the engagement from pro bono to billable services,” a report from the state’s Legislative Auditor said on Thursday. “The office paid the firm about $77,000 for those services.”

Bob Hume explained the change this way:

Dayton’s communications director Bob Hume on Thursday said the arrangement with Lillehaug went from pro bono to paid after Lillehaug’s role dramatically changed as the shutdown wore on.

“At the time we had every expectation that our legal services would be provided by the Attorney General. When we learned that she was going to take a position on her own initiative, which she had a valid right to do, we had to make other arrangements for representation,” Hume said.

The first question that isn’t answered is why Gov. Dayton didn’t talk with Lori Swanson to see what her position would be on the shutdown. Because Gov. Dayton didn’t do his research, which seems to happen frequently, he issued a statement that was quietly changed.

The truth is that Gov. Dayton has repeatedly shown himself to be the picture of incompetence and incomplete information. Why didn’t he inquire about Lori Swanson’s position? It’s shameful that he’s that clueless about something that important.

Another question that I have is why Lillehaug’s firm had to be brought in if it wasn’t a substantial role. What additional responsibilities did Mr. Lillehaug take on as the shutdown continued? Has Gov. Dayton’s administration given the legislature a copy of the bill submitted by Mr. Lillehaug? If not, why not?

People shouldn’t just take Gov. Dayton’s word that everything’s on the up-and-up. Gov. Dayton didn’t check to see whether it was legal to bring a campaign operative onto the plane he uses for his official travels.