'Defund the Police' Movement Finds an Ally in Swing-District Minnesota Dem's Office

Angie Craig's top state staffer endorsed defund movement, promoted group that bails out violent criminals

Rep. Angie Craig (D., Minn.) / Getty Images
February 16, 2022

A swing-district Minnesota Democrat is scrambling to distance herself from a top state staffer who called to defund police and promoted a radical group that pays to bail out violent criminals.

Rep. Angie Craig's district director, Liz Young, backed the movement to defund police in a June 2020 tweet, writing that cities should "fund counselors not cops." On the same day, Young shared a report on police-involved deaths in New York with the caption "Burn. It. All. Down." She later downplayed the literal burning down of a police station in Minneapolis, arguing that if the station was replaced with a health care clinic or library, "it would do infinitely more good." Young also encouraged her followers to contribute to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a radical nonprofit that supports defunding police and works to free heinous criminals, including an alleged child rapist and an accused domestic abuser who was arrested for murder just weeks after his release.

Young's far-left stances on crime and policing undermine Craig's attempts to distance herself from the defund movement. The Democrat's district includes the suburbs of Minneapolis, which experienced widespread riots and sky-high crime rates following protests in the wake of George Floyd's death. Anti-police activists used the event to push a failed ballot initiative that aimed to dismantle the city's police department. Craig publicly opposed the measure but declined to actively campaign against it following criticism from her party's left wing.

As Craig's district director, Young represents Craig at local events and manages the congresswoman's "overall district operation and work flow," according to the Congressional Management Foundation. After the Washington Free Beacon reached out to Craig's office regarding Young's anti-police posts, Young deleted the tweets in question and locked her account. Craig spokesman David McGonigal said Craig "does not hold the same views as those shared in her staffer's personal posts." He did not respond to a question on whether Craig directed Young to delete her posts and lock her account.

"Angie's staff includes Minnesotans from across the ideological spectrum, from lifelong Democrats to supporters of former President Trump," McGonigal told the Free Beacon. "She has a proven record of supporting law enforcement and fighting to ensure they have the resources they need to do their job safely and effectively. Angie has long established her own record on these issues and does not hold the same views as those shared in her staffer's personal posts."

This is not the first time Craig has rubbed elbows with defund the police activists. In November, the Democrat traveled to California for a big-ticket fundraiser with the Heart of LA Democratic Club, a liberal group that has endorsed the movement to defund police.

Craig, who joined the House in 2019, is a top target for Republicans as the GOP looks to regain control of the lower chamber in the November midterms. The Democrat defeated Republican challenger Tyler Kistner by just 2 points in 2020. Kistner, a Marine Corps veteran who served four tours overseas, is again running to unseat Craig in 2022. The Republican slammed Craig months ago for her California fundraiser with "radical coastal elites."

"Throughout her tenure in Congress, Craig has supported radicals in her party, and utilizing radical groups to raise money is par for the course for Congresswoman Craig," Kistner said in a statement. "As your next Congressman, I will always support the heroes of our law enforcement community."