"Independent" Ellison investigation being handled by DFL lawyer's partner

We have players from all over the spectrum making a mess of the investigation into allegations of abuse against Brett Kavanaugh, but at least we can rest easy knowing the search for truth about claims of domestic abuse by Keith Ellison is in good hands. Recent reports that the investigation had basically been shut down were flatly denied by Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). Perish the thought! They’re hard at work digging into this complicated case. The media is also pitching in, seeking to unseal Ellison’s divorce records.

Fortunately, an independent attorney has been appointed to handle the chore by the DFL. But who is that attorney? The Daily Caller reports that it can’t possibly be anyone with a conflict of interest because it turns out to be… the law firm partner of the DFL’s own attorney. (Emphasis added)

Minneapolis lawyer Susan Ellingstad took over the Ellison investigation from the state party’s attorney following Ellison’s primary victory in August, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chairman Ken Martin told the AP they hired Ellingstad to make sure the investigation “wouldn’t be colored by people with associations with the party.”

Ellingstad is a legal partner with the state party’s attorney, Charlie Nauen, who the AP reported handled the early stages of the investigation. Ellingstad and Nauen are partners at Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P., which bears the DFL attorney’s name.

So after Ellison won the primary in the Attorney General race, it seemed a bit off-color to have the attorney for the DFL, Charlie Nauen, investigating Ellison, who they have a clear motivation to protect. That attorney dutifully stepped aside and was replaced. But they gave the job to Nauen’s law partner? Honestly, did they think that nobody was going to check and see who she was?

The entire premise of replacing Nauen was framed as an effort to ensure the investigation “wouldn’t be colored by people with associations with the party.” So they put the guy’s business partner in charge instead? Isn’t that a bit like putting Michael Avenatti in charge of investigating Christine Blasey Ford’s story?

Be that as it may, the Ellison investigation is producing more than a few ripples on the political pond in Minnesota. The Washington Times recently noted that both of Minnesota’s Senators, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, are up for election and are being hammered by their opponents over their hypocrisy in demanding accountability from Brett Kavanaugh but being all warm and cozy with Ellison.

The domestic-abuse allegations against Rep. Keith Ellison are creating headaches not only for his campaign but the candidacies of two fellow Democrats, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith.

Both Democratic senators are being accused of hypocrisy taking a hard line on the allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, while going easy on the claims against Mr. Ellison leveled over a month ago by his ex-girlfriend Karen Monahan.

Republican state Sen. Karin Housley, who’s running against the newly appointed Smith in the November special election, last weekend called out “my opponent’s continued hypocrisy” on the accusations.

Klobuchar is sitting on a fairly comfortable lead in the polls, but Smith’s race is more interesting. She’s in a special election, running to fill out the term of Al Franken (adding more of a twist to the story) and she’s currently polling about six points ahead of her GOP opponent, barely outside the margin of error. Smith has been demanding full and fair hearings on Kavanaugh, giving his accuser a chance to tell her story. But at the same time, she’s stood by Ellison, saying that his denial of the charges leveled by his ex-girlfriend is good enough for her.

Might this obvious hypocrisy be enough to erode her narrow lead and let the GOP grab another Democratic Senate seat? Break out the popcorn. This race may be heating up.