Mike Rothman has announced his immediate resignation as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce. In a separate statement, Rothman announced that he will run for the job of Minnesota Attorney General.

MPR’s Tim Pugmire is reporting “Mike Rothman is stepping down as commissioner of the Minnesota Department Commerce and plans to run for state attorney general. Rothman announced his intentions Friday in a resignation letter to Gov. Mark Dayton.”

In his statement, Rothman said “Thank you for the incredible opportunity to serve the people of Minnesota. You placed great trust in me – and every day, I dedicated myself to fulfilling that trust by doing my very best to improve the lives of Minnesotans. I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish together.”

Frankly, Rothman was a failure because he was anti-commerce and because he did his utmost to kill the Line 3 Pipeline replacement project. Simply put, he’s an environmental activist. Imagine the destruction he could cause as Minnesota’s Attorney General. That’s a frightening thought.

In his statement, Gov. Dayton said “For nearly seven years, Mike Rothman has devoted himself to protecting consumers, improving the lives of Minnesotans, and ensuring fair regulatory environments for Minnesota’s businesses.” Rep. Kelly Fenton wasn’t that kind, saying “Commissioner Rothman’s tenure was stained by his failure to protect Minnesota consumers and tax dollars. His poor judgment is well documented.”

This KSTP article contains information that Pugmire’s article doesn’t have:

The news comes as the Office of the Legislative Auditor confirmed it had been asked to investigate actions taken by various DOC officials in connection to an investigation into an auto glass company a federal judge ruled was ‘unjustified.’ “As you may know, the case has involved considerable litigation that continues in process,” legislative auditor James Nobles wrote in an email to KSTP. “The case is very complex, and we are reviewing all of the documents related to the legal proceedings at both the state and federal levels.

“In sum, we are at a preliminary stage, and our review will undoubtedly take us into next year. So, yes, we are investigating what happened in the Commerce/Safelight case.” In that case, federal judge Susan Nelson ruled the DOC carried out an “unjustified” investigation into Safelite Auto Glass for its billing practices with insurance companies.

Nelson also said the DOC “initiated a baseless investigation against Safelite based on financially-motivated complaints from competitors.” Further, Nelson said there was testimony from a DOC employees stating “an assistant commissioner made a ‘deal’ to provide information on Safelite in order to ‘get Safelite out of Minnesota.'”

The last thing Minnesota needs is a crooked AG. That being said, Rothman wouldn’t be the first crooked Minnesota AG. Mike Hatch blazed that trail long ago.

Gov. Dayton’s statement is predictable. It’s also BS. Here’s why:

In December 2011, Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman and Community Action of Minneapolis CEO Bill Davis stood side-by-side at a press conference to plead for more federal money to help low-income people pay their heating bills. As the pair made their case in front of the cameras, however, staffers inside the Commerce Department were struggling to figure out how Davis’ nonprofit had already misspent more than $1 million in energy funds.

Commerce analysts had grown increasingly alarmed that money meant to aid the poor was going to people who were not eligible to receive it. Those staffers, who requested anonymity because they aren’t authorized to speak, say the red flags raised in 2011 were the first alerting Rothman that Davis, his DFL political ally, was mismanaging money from the energy assistance fund run by Commerce. The warnings, they say, were repeated over the years but went nowhere. Rothman would not sever ties with Community Action. Several in the department say they were told the contracts would continue because “the political ramifications are greater than staff would understand,” a characterization Rothman does not dispute.

Gov. Dayton, how can you say that Commissioner Rothman protected consumers or improved Minnesotans’ lives while ignoring Community Action of Minneapolis’ outright corruption? These DFL thieves stole money meant to pay poor people’s heating bills.

Instead of paying poor people’s heating bills, Community Action paid for a trip to New York City for State Sen. Jeffrey Hayden and his wife. They’ve since repaid the money.

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