Amy Klobuchar considered for attorney general, USDA chief

Amy Klobuchar considered for attorney general, USDA chief

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is being floated for a Cabinet post inside President-elect Joe Biden’s administration, according to people briefed on the matter.

Klobuchar, according to these people, is being considered by Biden and his team for a number of positions, including attorney general and secretary of Agriculture.

Her name has risen on the list of possible Cabinet appointees since Election Day as the Senate remains up for grabs after Democrats failed to pick up key victories for seats within that chamber of Congress, these people added. They declined to be named as these deliberations have been made in private.

The Senate is responsible for confirming Cabinet appointments. If Republicans maintain their majority, Biden might have to choose more moderate nominees if he wants a smoother confirmation process. Klobuchar is considered a moderate and a member of both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

The Senate majority is up for grabs as two races in Georgia have yet to be settled.

A spokesman for Biden’s transition team said no personnel decisions have been made.

“The Biden-Harris Transition team has not made any personnel decisions at this time,” Chris Ortman, the transition spokesman, told CNBC.

A representative for Klobuchar did not return a request for comment.

If Klobuchar was chosen to join Biden’s Cabinet, Gov. Tim Walz, D-Minn., would be responsible for appointing her replacement. She is up for reelection in 2024.

If she is asked to succeed William Barr at the Justice Department, Klobuchar could face another round of scrutiny on her tenure as Hennepin County attorney.

The senator drew heavy fire from civil rights activists and Black community leaders in February after the Associated Press published an investigation that raised questions about whether a Black teenager, Myon Burrell, was wrongly convicted of murder during Klobuchar’s tenure as the county’s chief lawyer.

The senator had for years cited the 2002 Burrell case as proof that she is tough on crime and of her pursuit of justice for Black communities plagued by gun violence.

But Burrell, who was 16 years old when convicted for the murder of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards, has insisted he is innocent and has rejected all plea deals. The AP report also quoted one of Burrell’s co-defendants as saying that he, and not Burrell, was the gunman responsible for the murder.

Others being mentioned for attorney general include Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala, who recently lost his Alabama Senate seat, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, according to Politico.

When Klobuchar ran for president in the 2020 election, she published an op-ed on CNN proposing the creation of a “clemency advisory board as well as a position in the White House – outside of the Department of Justice – that advises the president from a criminal justice reform perspective.”

One of the areas that could interest Biden in choosing her to lead the Department of Justice is her stance on antitrust and her pushback on the tech giants. During her run for president, she said strong antitrust enforcement means looking back at the deal between Facebook and Instagram.

Klobuchar, along with a group of bipartisan lawmakers, have introduced the Honest Ads Act, which looks to “help prevent foreign interference in future elections and improve the transparency of online political advertisements.”

That said, the Department of Agriculture, which is led by Sonny Perdue, may be where Klobuchar ends up.

As a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and a former presidential candidate, Klobuchar has supported tying farmers’ subsidies to their cost of production, which would likely augment the amount of money they receive.

She also backed greater funding for disaster relief and spending more on conservation programs that pay farmers to adopt certain environmentally friendly practices. She proposed that taxpayers cover a greater percentage of farmers’ premium payments for crop insurance.

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