DFL Gov. Mark Dayton announced Monday he has hired former U.S. Attorney David Lillehaug as special counsel as the state edges closer to a government shutdown.


Lillehaug will advise the governor on issues relating to what could be the most wide-ranging state government closure in state history.

Lillehaug has agreed to take the duty without pay, the governor said. He will not be the lead legal counsel or represent other state officials or agencies.

The announcement came as Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed a petition to have a judge issue an order forcing the state to fund core services in the event of a shutdown. Dayton and the state could face myriad lawsuits from state-funded organizations seeking funding.

Lillehaug, a former gubernatorial candidate, served as U.S. Attorney for Minnesota from 1994 to 1998. Last year, he represented the DFL-controlled Minnesota House of Representatives in a successful legal challenge of then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s unilateral budget cutting, known as unallotment.