Attorney General Ellison names Jessica Whitney as Deputy Attorney General

Veteran of Iowa AG’s office brings proven experience in consumer protection, will start March 1

February 14, 2023 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today that he has named Jessica Whitney as Deputy Attorney General in the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General. Ms. Whitney is an 18-year veteran of the Office of former Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. She will serve as one of four deputy attorneys general in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and will co-lead the Office’s consumer-protection work with current Deputy Attorney General James Canaday when she starts on March 1.  

The Office of the Minnesota Attorney General is currently divided into four Sections, three of which are led by deputy attorneys general and the fourth led by the Solicitor General. The Consumer Protection Section of the Attorney General’s Office is the largest of the four Sections of the Office, encompassing the Consumer, Wage, and Antitrust Division; the Consumer Action Division that responds directly to consumers and residents; the Residential Utilities Division; the Charities Division; the eDiscovery & Litigation Support Division; the Wage Theft Unit; and the Special Outreach and Protection Unit. The Section has greatly expanded the range of the Office’s consumer-protection work in recent years in the areas of public safety and gun-violence prevention, antitrust, charities litigation, landlord-tenant law, and wage theft, among others. The Section is also currently leading the Attorney General’s investigation into the proposed merger of Fairview Health Systems and Sanford Health. 

“I’m very proud to strengthen our already strong consumer-protection group with nation-leading talent like Jessica Whitney. Iowa may be relatively small, but under Attorney General Miller, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office played an outsized role in leading in consumer protection nationally. The people of Minnesota are fortunate to have legal talent of Jessica’s caliber joining us,” Attorney General Keith Ellison said. 

Ms. Whitney most recently served in former Attorney General Miller’s office as deputy attorney general for public policy and consumer protection. In that role, she supervised legal representation for State of Iowa in antitrust, tobacco regulation, civil rights, veterans’ affairs, and labor, and advised the attorney general on civil law, policy and other matters of strategic concern. In 2022, when Attorney General Miller served as president of the non-partisan National Association of Attorneys General, she spearheaded his Presidential Initiative entitled “Consumer Protection 2.0: Techs Threats and Tools.” For seven and a half years, she also served as director of the Consumer Protection Division of the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, in which role she led one of the strongest consumer-protection divisions in an attorney general’s office in the country. (For two of those years, she served concurrently as deputy attorney general.) Prior to that, she served for 11 years as an assistant attorney general in the Consumer Protection Division. Ms. Whitney has led a variety of consumer-protection cases and won restitution for consumers in the areas of fraud and deceptive practices by for-profit colleges and universities, debt collection, illegal lending, auto-finance fraud, and other areas. She has also worked extensively in consumer education. She holds a bachelor's degree from Grinnell College and a J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School. 

“Jessica Whitney is one of the best consumer protectors in the country at any level, state or federal. She is able to do that because of her competence, judgment, and ability to work with people to get the job done,” said former Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. Attorney General Miller left office this year after 40 years as Iowa attorney general, making him the longest-serving state attorney general in U.S. history.  

“I am honored and excited to join Attorney General Ellison and his team, working to protect Minnesotans from fraud, abuse, and unfair competition,” Ms. Whitney said.