Speed Reads

switching parties

George W. Bush's chief ethics lawyer is running for Senate as a Democrat

He spent decades as a Republican, but Richard Painter, George W. Bush's chief ethics lawyer, plans on running for Senate in Minnesota as a Democrat, the Star Tribune reports.

He recently filed paperwork with federal elections officials, and Painter is expected to make the announcement Monday during a news conference. Painter, 56, is a University of Minnesota professor of corporate law and vice chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. A graduate of Harvard and Yale Law School, Painter served as Bush's ethics lawyer from 2005 to 2007, and has never held elected office. He moved to Minnesota with his family in 2007, and has been a vocal critic of President Trump and his behavior and business practices.

When he announced last month that he was forming an exploratory committee, Painter said he wasn't sure if he would run as a Republican, Democrat, or independent, but did vow he would never take any "dark money" from political action committees. Painter will run for the seat once held by Democrat Al Franken, who resigned in January after sexual harassment allegations. Lt. Gov. Tina Smith was tapped to replace him, and she has said she will run in the fall's special election for a full six-year term, the Star Tribune reports. Watch Painter discuss the latest drama in the White House in the video below. Catherine Garcia