Lori Swanson

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Lori Swanson
Lori Swanson 2013.jpg
29th Attorney General of Minnesota
Assumed office
January 2, 2007
Governor Tim Pawlenty
Mark Dayton
Preceded by Mike Hatch
Personal details
Born (1966-12-16) December 16, 1966 (age 48)
Political party Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Residence Eagan, Minnesota
Alma mater University of Wisconsin,

William Mitchell College of Law

Lori Swanson (born December 16, 1966) is the Attorney General of the US state of Minnesota. She was elected on November 7, 2006, and took office on January 2, 2007, succeeding Mike Hatch, who declined to run for re-election in order to run for governor. She is the first woman elected Minnesota's Attorney General.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Lori Swanson was born on December 16, 1966. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her J.D. magna cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law in Saint Paul.[1][2]


Swanson served as Deputy Attorney General during Mike Hatch's first term, and as Solicitor General during his second term. She also served as chair of the Consumer Advisory Council to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington D.C. in 2006.[1][2] She was elected Minnesota Attorney General on November 7, 2006 and took office on January 2, 2007, becoming the first woman to serve as Minnesota's Attorney General.[1]

In 2009, Swanson filed a lawsuit against National Arbitration Forum (NAF), at that time the largest consumer arbitration organization in the country.[3] NAF had been criticized by consumer advocacy groups, U.S. Senators, and Public Citizen for bias against consumers.[4] Swanson alleged that NAF was owned by a group of equity funds that also were simultaneously affiliated with a national debt collection agency, Axiant, and the administration of the largest collection law firm at the time, Mann Brakken.[5] In July 2009 NAF signed a consent order with Swanson agreeing to stop arbitrating consumer claims. Shortly thereafter, Axiant and Mann Bracken went out of business.[6][7]

Swanson was re-elected on November 2, 2010, defeating Republican challenger Chris Barden.[8]

In 2012, Swanson filed a lawsuit against Accretive Health of Chicago, a hospital collection agency.[9] The lawsuit resulted in hearings before the U.S. Senate[10][11] and the issuance of a multi-volume compliance report involving Fairview Health Systems in Minnesota.[12] In July 2012, Accretive signed a consent order under which it paid a $2.5 million civil penalty and agreed not to do business in Minnesota for up to six years.[13] Accretive is believed to be the only current member of the New York Stock Exchange which is affirmatively barred from doing business in a state. In September 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) determined that Accretive’s actions at Fairview Health Systems subjected patients to “abuse and harassment,” and resulted in violations of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), the federal anti-patient dumping law.

In 2013, Swanson again engaged with Fairview Health Systems when its executives were discovered to be negotiating the merger of Fairview, and the University of Minnesota Hospitals, with Sanford Health Systems, a for-profit health system operating out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Fairview and the University Hospitals employ over 20,000 Minnesotans, and Swanson’s inquiry focused on the financial impact of allowing these non-profit entities to be moved out of state. After Swanson conducted several public hearings on the matter, the proposed merger talks were terminated.[14]

In 2013 and 2014 Swanson took on for-profit colleges. Pointing out that over 70% of graduates of for-profit colleges earn less than high school drop outs,[15] Swanson took action against colleges who misrepresented job placement rates, who steered students to high interest rates loans, and who misrepresented the transferability of credits to other institutions.[16]

In 2014, Swanson issued a scathing report on charities that contract with Savers, Inc, a for profit company that collects and sells second hand clothing through the United States and Canada.[17] Swanson said that the charities and Savers were engaged in deceptive activities because the charities received only a few pennies in exchange for the dollars received by Savers for the sale of donated clothing.[18] Swanson settled the matter in 2015 when Savers agreed to disclose that it is a for-profit company, that it will no longer commingle goods donated to specific charities, that it will disclose the amount of the revenue it receives which is donated to charity, that it will compensate charities for non-clothing items donated to the charity, and that it pay $1.8 million to the charities it serviced in the state of Minnesota.[19]

In 2014 Swanson was re-elected Attorney General, winning seven of the eight Congressional Districts in Minnesota.[20] Swanson won with 52.6% of the vote, beating Republican Scott Newman's 39%.[21]

Awards and honors[edit]

Swanson was named one of the "Top Ten Lawyers in America" by the national publication Lawyers USA in 2009.[22][23] In 2012 the national publication HealthLeaders Magazine named Swanson one of 20 Americans who is making a difference in health care.[24] She also received the Robert Drinan “Champion of Justice” award from the National Consumer Law Center, a Washington-based non-profit organization that acts as a national clearing center and publisher for consumer lawyers and other legal advocates.[25] She was also a recipient of the Pro Patria award by the Department of Defense for her work on behalf of armed service personnel.[26] In 2010, Swanson was named Public Official of the Year by the Minnesota Nurses Association. The Drum Major Institute of New York designated Swanson’s predatory mortgage legislation on one of the ten top public policies proposed in 2008.[27]

Electoral history[edit]

  • 2014 Race for Attorney General – General Election (Unofficial)
    • Lori Swanson (DFL) 52.6%
    • Scott Newman (GOP) 39%
    • Dan Vacek 2.99%
    • Brandon Borgos 2.31%
    • Mary O'Connor 1.56%
    • Andy Dawkins 1.49%
  • 2010 Race for Attorney General – General Election
    • Lori Swanson (DFL) 52.9%
    • Chris Barden (GOP) 41.27%
    • Bill Dann (IP) 5.06%
    • David Hoch (Resource Party) 0.69%
  • 2010 Race for Attorney General – DFL Primary
    • Lori Swanson 85.61%
    • Leo F. Meyer 14.39%
  • 2006 Race for Attorney General – General Election
    • Lori Swanson (DFL) 53.24%
    • Jeff Johnson (GOP) 40.72%
    • John James (IP) 4.05%

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson". Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Attorney General Lori Swanson – Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  3. ^ Swanson v. National Arbitration Forum, Hennepin County District Court, State of Minnesota, file #27-cv-09-18550
  4. ^ Berner, Robert; Grow, Brian (June 4, 2008). "Banks vs. Consumers (Guess Who Wins)". Businessweek. 
  5. ^ Swanson v. National Arbitration Forum, Hennepin County District Court, State of Minnesota, file #27-cv-09-18550
  6. ^ Hopkins, Jamie Smith (February 26, 2010). "Mann Bracken put in receivership in lieu of bankruptcy filing". The Baltimore Sun. 
  7. ^ Switzky, Bryant Ruiz (February 1, 2010). "Demise of Axiant, Mann Bracken means chaos, lost jobs". Washington Business Journal. 
  8. ^ "Ritchie, Swanson re-elected in Minn. SOS, AG races". Albert Lea Tribune. AP. November 2, 2010. 
  9. ^ State of Minnesota v. Accretive Health, United States District Court, District of Minnesota Case No. 12-cv-00145 (RHK-JJK)
  10. ^ Full Committee Field Hearing - Ensuring Patients’ Access to Care and Privacy: Are Federal Laws Protecting Patients? U.S. Senate, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, May 30, 2012
  11. ^ "Sen. Franken Questions Accretive, Fairview on Debt Collection Practices at Field Hearing". Franken.senate.gov. May 30, 2012. 
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ Kennedy, Tony; Lerner, Maura (July 31, 2012). "Accretive is banned from Minnesota". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  14. ^ Kennedy, Tony (April 10, 2013). "Swanson grills Sanford executives on proposed Fairview merger". Star Tribune. 
  15. ^ Swanson, Lori (March 12, 2015). "State needs to make for-profit colleges more transparent". Star Tribune. 
  16. ^ Halperin, “Abuses at Corinthian Are Mirored at Other Big For-Profit Coleges, Republic Report, April 22, 2015; “Lawsuit, Minnesota School of Business, Globe University, Misled Students. StarTribune, July 22, 2014.
  17. ^ “Minnesota AG: Thrift Store Giant Misleading the Public,” Star Tribune, November 25, 2014.
  18. ^ “Minnesota Attorney General sues Savers for Misleading Donors,” KARE Television, May 21, 2015
  19. ^ Bjorhus, “Savers Stores Settles with Minnesota Attorney General Lawsuit,” StarTribune, June 25, 2015
  20. ^ Electionresults.sos.state.mn.us/results/Attorney General
  21. ^ Kather, Kathy (November 5, 2014). "Lori Swanson wins 3rd term as attorney general". Pioneer Press. 
  22. ^ Scheck, Tom (December 21, 2009). "Swanson picked as one of “Top Ten Lawyers of the Year.”". MPR News. 
  23. ^ "Inside Track: Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson". Star Tribune. December 27, 2009. 
  24. ^ Commins, John (January 11, 2013). "HL20: Lori Swanson—Taking a Stand on Bill Collection Efforts". HealthLeaders. 
  25. ^ Ziegler, Suzanne (October 22, 2009). "Attorney general honored for consumer advocacy work". Star Tribune. 
  26. ^ "Attorney General Swanson Receives "Pro Patria" Award". April 21, 2009. 
  27. ^ "The Attorneys General: Lori Swanson (D)". National Association of Attorneys General. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Mike Hatch
Attorney General of Minnesota