PLYMOUTH, Minn. – September 26, 2022 – Minnesota Attorney General candidate Jim Schultz today demanded that Keith Ellison immediately provide public answers regarding the historic fraud carried out by Feeding Our Future, the failure of Ellison’s office to prevent it, and whether campaign contributions from leaders of Feeding Our Future led his office to ignore the fraud. Schultz also announced his plan to overhaul the Charities Division of the Office of the Attorney General to ensure that such unprecedented fraud never happens again.
“The conduct of Keith Ellison’s office throughout the Feeding Our Future saga is an outrage,” Schultz said. “The litany of serious mistakes is long, and it is damning. It would not have taken Sherlock Holmes to crack this case before hundreds of millions were stolen. Either Ellison demonstrated unbelievable incompetence in failing to halt such fraud, or Keith Ellison simply looked the other way to secure campaign contributions for himself and fellow Democrats or for some other disturbing motive. Regardless, Keith Ellison must provide immediate answers to the people of Minnesota.”
Schultz called upon Keith Ellison to answer the following questions immediately:
1. Why did the AG’s Office take no significant steps to investigate the fraud related to FOF when there was clear evidence of wrongdoing years ago? For example, why were bank records, which certainly would have reflected massive payments ultimately leading to the individuals involved in FOF and the use of such funds by those individuals for unlawful purposes, not requested or subpoenaed at the time suspicions arose?
2. Why did massive payments continue to FOF despite no judicial order to do so and despite overwhelming evidence—evidence so significant that the Department of Education notified the FBI—of wrongdoing, including the fraud being known as an “open-secret” in the Minneapolis community?
3. How did campaign contributions to Keith Ellison’s campaign, the campaign of his son, Jeremiah Ellison, and other DFL officials made by individuals connected to FOF affect the decision not to pursue the case and to continue payments?
4. Does Keith Ellison disavow other officials’ dangerous rhetoric calling for the judge involved in the FOF case to be investigated?
5. Why has the Attorney General’s Office issued “five or fewer” assurances of discontinuance orders a year to non-profits despite the extraordinary size of Minnesota’s nonprofit sector?
Schultz’s three-point plan to address non-profit fraud:
1. Triple the size of the Charities Division of the Office of the Attorney General with additional attorneys, investigators, and other personnel equipped to investigate and prosecute non-profit fraud. This increase in the capacity of the Division will more than pay for itself through state funds saved resulting from increased detection and prevention of fraud, and funds will be sought from the legislature for this overhaul.
2. Partner with the Office of the State Auditor to create a blue-ribbon task force comprised of federal and state law enforcement, investigators and other leaders to restructure the state’s strategy to detect and combat non-profit fraud. Also work with the State Auditor to ensure that issues identified through audits or from whistleblowers receive a full and thorough investigation.
3. Increase penalties for those who engage in non-profit fraud in order to make clear that in the state of Minnesota those who steal from taxpayers and donors will face serious penalties. This includes strengthening the Minnesota Nonprofit Corporations Act (Minn. State. Ch.317A) to include more accountability provisions for nonprofits and to enhance the prosecutorial power of the Office of Attorney General over nonprofit fraud.