Photo provided by Richard Painter


Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor

Official Bio:

I grew up in Illinois and went to school on the East Coast, getting my law degree from Harvard University. I worked at a law firm in New York City for a couple of years before moving to Minnesota to be a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. In 2007, I took a hiatus from teaching to serve as the Chief Ethics Lawyer for the White House. I returned to Minnesota in 2009. I am currently the S. Walter Richey Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities* and also served as vice-chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington* (on leave). Since 2009, I have written several books and editorials, and have appeared on countless TV and radio programs discussing, among other things, corruption in politics. My wife Karen and I live with our three children and our two dogs in Mendota Heights.

Your key platforms:

Anti-Corruption and Election Reform: I have been among the most vehement critics of the Donald Trump and his administration since the Republican primaries. Never before have we seen such flagrant corruption in the executive branch, nor have we seen our system of checks and balances be so impotent to bring an end to it. I have introduced a six-step plan to hold all elected officials accountable for unethical conduct and to stop our leaders from using our government as their personal piggy-banks. Additionally, many of the biggest issues facing our country have been exacerbated by the poisonous influence of money in politics. Unlike any other candidate in this election, I have REFUSED to take any PAC, Super PAC or dark money. I support passing a Constitutional Amendment to put limits on campaign finance, and I have also laid out a four-step plan to address the issue legislatively. Read my ethics reform package here: Read my election reform package here:

Environment: I believe Minnesota's single greatest asset is its natural beauty. We need to fight to protect that. I strongly oppose the PolyMet copper-nickel sulfide mining projects currently moving forward in the boundary waters. The environmental costs of these projects will be disastrous, with environmental research groups saying that Minnesota will be cleaning up PolyMet's mess for up to 500 years. We need to reinvigorate our rural areas, but sulfide mining is the right way. In the Senate, I will author a bill to prevent any sulfide mining near waterways. Additionally, climate change is an existential threat facing the human race and one that we are doing almost nothing to slow. I plan to change that through mechanisms such as a carbon tax, tax credits for green energy businesses, and re-committing the United States to the Paris Climate Accords. Read more about my environmental platform here:

Healthcare: Some have described healthcare as the single greatest issue facing our country. I believe that every citizen in this country should have affordable and effective healthcare and that it is unthinkable that we have not yet achieved that goal. To do so, I will author or sponsor a single-payer, Medicare for All bill that will allow insurance companies to negotiate down the costs of care. Additionally, this bill will remove the relationship between your employer and your healthcare. Doing so will remove a massive financial burden on employers and will improve the quality of medical plans that people have access to. Read more about my healthcare platform here:

What’s one thing you want the Rochester community to know about you?

I have spent my entire career fighting against corruption and fraud. As an attorney, my primary area of practice has been corporate compliance, which involves auditing corporate finances and investigating any unethical behavior and violations of anti-corruption statutes. In the White House, I counseled the President and his cabinet on how to divest from assets which would create a conflict of interest. I have been outspoken from the beginning of the Trump era, admonishing the President for not divesting from his business empire and profiting off of his office. Following the 2016 election, I filed a Hatch Act complaint against former FBI director James Comey for using his position to influence the presidential election. Last year, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a group which I was a part of (from which I have taken a leave to run for office) sued the President for violations of the domestic and foreign emoluments clauses in the US Constitution. Washington is a dumpster fire, and we will not be able to put it out by being Minnesota Nice. I am the voice of responsibility and ethics that we need in Washington.