Republican attacks Minnesota AG over crime in 1st debate

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Democratic Attorney General Keith Ellison on Friday defended his criminal record against aggressive assaults by his Republican challenger, Jim Schultz, who accused the state’s supreme prosecutor failed in his duty to protect the residents of Minnesota.

Ellison – a former congressman, state legislator and criminal defense attorney – countered that 36-year-old Schultz, a hedge fund attorney with no courtroom experience lacks the background necessary to become Minnesota’s chief of legal affairs.

crime, abortion rights and the Feeding our future scandal — a $250 million theft of a $250 million food program that has raised questions about whether state officials have responded properly — dominated their spirited debate on Minnesota Public Radio, their first of four before the Nov. 8 election in what is seen as a exciting race. Here are some key takeaways:

CRIME

Crime is Schultz’s signature problem, and he renewed his claims that Ellison supports the police, something Ellison has long denied.

“That’s extremely wrong, and it’s reckless, and it’s helped deliver extraordinary crime to our communities,” Schultz said.

Although Ellison backed a Minneapolis charter amendment last year to replace the police force with a loosely defined public safety department, which was rejected by voters, he insisted he was never in favor of cutting police funding. . He said he even asked the legislature for “millions of dollars” to fight crime, but was thwarted by key Republicans.

“If I had to be this ‘defunder,’ I have to be the worst ever because I’m looking for more law enforcement resources,” Ellison said.

Schultz called Ellison’s response “complete lies” and added, “Everyone knows that the Minneapolis charter change was aimed at defunding and deconstructing the Minneapolis police force.”

ABORTION

“Women and everyone in the state can count on me to stand up for their right to a safe, legal abortion. Stop,” Ellison said. “They can count on me, if they come to our state and have an abortion here, I will defend their right to travel here and do what is legal here. if trying to extradite another state

someone, I will oppose that.”

Abortion remains legal

in Minnesota. But Ellison reminded listeners that Schultz swore to be “offensive, abusive, abusive” to abortion when he tried to win the GOP nomination. Schultz also served on the board of a “crisis pregnancy center” that Ellison claimed is spreading misinformation because it advises women against having abortions.

Like many other Republicans, Schultz tried to avoid the problem. “I’m pro-life and I’m not ashamed of it,” he said before attempting to return to crime.

“Keith Ellison is using this as a distraction, a distraction to get away from his failed record,” Schultz said.

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FEEDING OUR FUTURE

Schultz also accused Ellison of using abortion to distract from an alleged plan federal prosecutors say stole at least $250 million of a program to feed children during the pandemic. The nonprofit in the center was called Feeding Our Future. Nearly 50 people have been charged with federal crimes. But there are still questions

about what state officials, including Ellison, knew about the extent of the fraud, when they learned about it, and whether they could have stopped it sooner.

Schultz said Ellison should have used the power of his office before $250 million in taxpayer dollars went out. Federal authorities have recovered about $50 million so far.

Ellison praised the investigation as a successful collaboration between the state and federal authorities. He noted that three of the defendants have already pleaded guilty. He repeated claims from him and Government Tim Walz’s Administration

that the FBI has asked them not to stop the flow of funds to protect the secrecy of the ongoing investigation.

“Because of the partnership, we believe this whole thing has been pulled out root and branch,” Ellison said.

Schultz accused Ellison of lying about his role. “The FBI doesn’t tell victims of theft to send $200 million to people we know are thieves,” he said.

MISTAKE OF THE DAY

Schultz asked Ellison if he knew the name of the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis office overseeing the investigation. He didn’t give Ellison a chance to answer before calling the officer Joseph Thompson. Schultz suggested that Ellison had failed the test and was “missing in action”. But Schultz failed his own test. Thompson is not the head of the FBI office; he is a federal prosecutor in this case. The local special agent in charge is Michael Paul.

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