EXCLUSIVE: 'Right hand man' to Lori Swanson speaks out about her alleged misuse of staff
(KMSP) - A leading DFL Gubernatorial candidate is facing some potential trouble as primary day rolls around after a close former aide to Attorney General Lori Swanson claims she pressured staffers to help with her political work while on the clock.
D'Andre Norman describes himself as Attorney General Lori Swanson's right hand man and says he was instrumental in helping her advance her political career while in office.
Now, in a stunning turn of events, he's filed a restraining order against her just two days before the primary.
“From day one I was told that Lori wanted to be Governor and I was told that we would do everything and anything necessary to make her governor,” Norman said.
For the first time, Norman is facing the cameras to detail what he says went on in the Attorney General's office under the leadership of Lori Swanson.
The Chicago native was first hired by the Hatch administration in 2006.
He then went on to work for Swanson as a utility consumer dispute resolution mediator, but Norman says he spent close to 80 percent of his time as her political handler, recruiting volunteers for campaign events and keeping tabs on who was truly loyal.
“She wanted people to staff her, certain things had to be done, certain things had to look right and that was my job for instance, to make sure that got done but a lot of that was done on the clock.”
Swanson has completely denied these allegations.
In a statement to Fox 9 a spokesman from the AG’s office says quote "any employee of the Attorney General’s office who chooses to participate in the political process, whether for Lori or another candidate, does so voluntarily on their own personal time and not while ‘on the clock’ for the government.”
Fox 9 caught up with Swanson at the DFL debate Friday to address these claims.
Swanson's office then released Norman's criminal record, which details charges of insurance fraud and theft. A spokesman tells Fox 9 it's publicly available.
But in a motion to file a restraining order late Friday, Norman's lawyer says these convictions were supposed to be expunged.
“They always told me I was family. I was at every fundraiser, every envelope stamp, you name it, I was there,” Norman said.
Norman's accusations against Swanson were first published by The Intercept, an online news outlet, last week.
Swanson questioned the motivations behind The Intercept’s story.
She successfully sued several companies that are associated with the person who financially supports the outlet.
“I never worked with the Walz or Murphy campaign. Lori Swanson has alleged that this was somehow a feud between the owners of The Intercept and her company which is completely ridiculous,” said Rachel Cohen, the reporter who broke the story. “I picked the story. I’m a freelancer. That’s completely untrue.”
Norman says he's not looking for any money and he's coming forward now just two days before the primary because people are paying attention to who they're voting for.
He feels it's his responsibility to speak out now.
“The truth shall set me free, so that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.”
D'andre Norman left the Attorney General's office in 2014.
Swanson is locked in a tight three-way DFL primary race with State Rep. Erin Murphy and U.S. Rep. Tim Walz.