'What Did Keith Ellison Know, and When Did He Know it?' - Climate Litigation Watch

‘What Did Keith Ellison Know, and When Did He Know it?’

CLW has long wondered about the utter absence of media curiosity into the ethical and fiduciary implication of public officials providing potentially, spectacularly lucrative ‘contingency fee’ agreements to a law firm already being paid to file the wave of “climate nuisance”, now “failure to warn” lawsuits sweeping progressive jurisdictions across the land. 

The rationale behind allowing what are often outsized contingency fee arrangements, after all, was that the firm was investing in the case and taking risk. 

Most states have adopted rule 1.8(f) requiring lawyers to obtain written informed consent by the client when the lawyers are being paid by a third party. Assuming that these lawyers, where required, complied with ethics rules how and why did the public officials promise hundreds of millions to the firm, and out of purported taxpayer damages no less?

For example, records submitted by Minnesota AG Keith Ellison’s office to a legislative oversight body, as a condition of approval to engage outside counsel, indicate the State believed that is the compensation. Did it, really? Was Ellison’s office duped, by lawyers…or was it doing the duping, of taxpayers and legislative overseers?

No plaintiff jurisdiction which Energy Policy Advocates asked for any other relevant disclosures (outside of the fee agreement) produced or acknowledged any such records, with the exception of one tantalizing if heavily redacted email from Anne Arundel County, MD, which like the Minnesota documents was obtained by EPA. This suggests a universal absence of consent. Why is that? Surely not lawyers failing to comply with their obligations. Is it politicians engaging in honest services fraud?

This all led Energy Policy Advocates to openly wonder, What did Keith Ellison (et al.) know, and when did they know it?  (A few posts here detail these matters (one must search, e.g., for “what did”)). Is this all a series of misunderstandings? We may never know. Unless they’re asked.

Well, now CLW sees that some Minnesota lawmakers have asked AG Ellison that question, and several other questions relevant to governmental hygiene on the matter of these “climate litigation” arrangements. The public certainly deserve the answers.