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Sen. Dave Thompson, one of several Republicans vying for Dayton’s job, said “the governor should have been more careful.” But, he said, he was not planning to throw stones at Dayton because of the apparent violation, nor did he plan to pursue legislation to clarify the law.
Of the legal violation the auditor highlighted, spokesman for the Ramsey County Attorney Dennis Gerhardstein said: “Our office would certainly review any case that is brought to our attention by law enforcement.”
Pro bono became $77,000 bill
The audit also revealed that attorney David Lillehaug, the special counsel advising Dayton during the 2011 shutdown, did not end up working pro bono as the governor had announced at the time.
“In August 2011, the Governor signed an amendment that changed the engagement from pro bono to billable services,” the legislative auditor’s report said. “The office paid the firm about $77,000 for those services.”
Dayton’s communications director Bob Hume on Thursday said the governor’s arrangement with Lillehaug went from pro bono to paid after Lillehaug’s role dramatically expanded as the shutdown wore on.
Lillehaug is a former U.S. attorney who had long represented Democrats, including Dayton, in campaign and election matters. Last year, Dayton appointed Lillehaug to the state Supreme Court.
Hume said that Lillehaug did a “superb job” in handling shutdown-related matters and the state received great value for his service.
“It is a decision we stand by,” Hume said.
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger • Twitter: @RachelSB