Chickens come home to roost as employers shun toxic Bush lawyers

Noting that Alberto Gonzales hasn’t been able to find a job since his 2007 resignation, Charlie Savage and Scott Shane reported on March 8, 2009, that David Addington has joined the pool of unemployable Bush administration attorneys. From their article Terror-War Fallout Lingers Over Bush Lawyers:

For some of Mr. Bush’s lawyers, the most likely consequence may be wariness from potential employers. The former White House counsel and attorney general, Alberto R. Gonzales, for example, has not found a job since resigning in 2007 amid accusations that he misled Congress about surveillance without warrants and the firing of United States attorneys.

He recently told The Wall Street Journal that the controversy surrounding him had made law firms “skittish” about hiring him, calling himself “one of the many casualties of the war on terror.” Mr. Gonzales’s lawyer, George J. Terwilliger III, said in a statement that “Judge Gonzales looks forward to the day when reason prevails over partisan politics and he can get on with his professional life.”

David S. Addington, a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who was a forceful voice in internal legal debates, is also said to still be looking for work. The former Pentagon general counsel William Haynes II had been nominated by Mr. Bush for an appeals court judgeship, but was blocked because of his role in detention policies.

He then searched for a job for about a year, according to Pentagon officials, before landing a position at Chevron in 2008. [Emphasis supplied.]

h/t Zachary Roth, Report: Addington, Like Gonzo, Said To Still Be Looking For Work, March 9, 2009

Back on December 3, 2008, Carrie Johnson provided this update on D. Kyle Sampson:

D. Kyle Sampson, [broken link] who served as the chief of staff to Gonzales until his March 2007 resignation, recently took a leave from his job as a partner at the law firm Hunton & Williams while the investigation [by prosecutor Nora R. Dannehy who is investigating the dismissals of nine U.S. attorneys] proceeds. A spokeswoman for the law firm said he is on leave “pending admission to the D.C. bar.” [Ed. note – As of this date, Mr. Sampson has not been admitted to the D.C. bar. Updated March 17, 2009 to add the word ‘not’ to the previous sentence in this Ed. note]

The report by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine singled out Sampson for offering testimony that was “not credible” and “unpersuasive.” The authorities also concluded that Sampson had committed “misconduct.”

An attorney for Sampson previously said that Sampson had gone out of his way to help investigators and that he had offered “his best, most honest and complete recollection of these events.”

It’s shameful that these men are still licensed to practice law but, for whatever the reason and however temporary, they’re not practicing law. This doesn’t take the place of proper investigation by their respective bar associations and imposition of appropriate sanctions, but Messrs. Gonzales, Addington and Sampson are being judged quite harshly by their peers. For now.

* * * * * * * * * *

I sent the following email to Hunton & Williams requesting a response to some questions I had regarding the firm’s employment of Mr. Sampson:

Eleanor Kerlow
Senior Public Relations Manager, Hunton & Williams
(202) 955-1883
ekerlow@hunton.com

Ms. Kerlow,

I write The Grievance Project at which I have been following the career of D. Kyle Sampson. I am writing requesting Hunton & Williams’ response to the following questions related to Mr. D. Kyle Sampson.

  • Was the leave taken at the firm’s request?
  • Has the firm been contacted by Nora R. Dannehy regarding Mr. Sampson?
  • Has any other attorney at Hunton & Williams taken a leave from the firm due to Ms. Dannehy’s investigation?
  • Was a press release issued relating to Mr. Sampson’s leave? If so, please forward a copy to my attention.
  • Is it typical or policy for partners in Hunton’s D.C. office to take a leave from the firm while applying for admission to the D.C. bar?
  • Is Mr. Sampson welcome back to Hunton upon his admission to the D.C. bar?

Thank you for your attention to these questions.

I will update this post with any reply I receive.

Updated on March 11, 2009: Emptywheel and Scott Horton provide much more analysis on this issue here and here, respectively.

Updated on March 17, 2009: I haven’t received a reply from Ms. Kerlow or other official response from Hunton & Williams, so I resent the above email to Ms. Kerlow again asking for a response to my questions.   I also asked Ms. Kerlow whether she or someone else from Hunton & Williams stopped by TGP the other day:

From Statcounter :

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Date Time WebPage
March 14th 2009 03:42:18 PM No referring link
grievanceproject.wordpress.com/2009/03/10/chickens-come-home-to-roost-as-employers-shun-toxic-bush-lawyers/

From Sitemeter:

Domain Name (Unknown)
IP Address 148.170.16.# (Hunton & Williams)
ISP Hunton & Williams
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Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : New York
City : New York
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Cross-posted at the Oxdown Gazette, Firedoglake‘s diary blog.

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E-mail to Robert H. Bork, Jr.

Robert H. Bork, Jr.
gonzalesfacts@gmail.com

Mr. Bork,

As the media contact for GonzalesFacts.com, I would request a response on the record to these allegations that Alberto Gonzales has engaged in conduct that calls into question his fitness to practice law. I have also previously requested a response from George J. Terwilliger III via this e-mail:

George J. Terwilliger III
White & Case LLP
701 13th Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20005
Telephone: 202-626-3628
Fax: 202-639-9355
gterwilliger@whitecase.com

Dear Mr. Terwilliger:

I have been researching the conduct of various attorneys who, in the service of the government of the United States, have engaged in conduct that violates the rules of professional conduct with which each attorney must comply. I have prepared factual allegations of the conduct of various attorneys, including your client Alberto Gonzales, that establish violations of the applicable rules of professional responsibility. (I have also prepared complaints for Kyle Sampson, Harriet Miers, Lisa Murkowski, John Yoo, Mark Everett Fuller, Monica Marie Goodling, Thomas W. Hartmann and Michael J. Elston.) The conduct of your client has violated several of the rules of professional conduct of the Texas Bar. His actions raise a substantial question as to his honesty, trustworthiness and fitness as a lawyer.

The purpose of this e-mail is to offer your client, or you on his behalf, the opportunity to respond to these allegations. I look forward to your response.

I look forward to your reply.

E.M./The Grievance Project

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George J. Terwilliger III replies to my e-mail. Sort of.

In my e-mail to George J. Terwilliger III, I offered Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Terwilliger the opportunity to respond to my allegations that Mr. Gonzales has engaged in conduct which brings into question his fitness to practice law. Mr. Terwilliger has taken the opportunity to reply to my post:*

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — “The report confirms that Judge Gonzales provided Congress with a truthful account of his knowledge of and involvement in the dismissal of US attorneys.

“The report makes clear that Judge Gonzales engaged in no wrongful or improper conduct while recognizing, as he has acknowledged many times, that the process for evaluating US attorney performance in this instance was flawed,” Terwilliger said.

“In our submission to the Department on this matter, we noted that the OIG is without jurisdiction to second guess presidential personnel decisions. Unfortunately, the report spends hundreds of pages doing just that, but nonetheless reports no evidence of an improper motivation or action in removing these US attorneys. It seems rather odd, then, that rather than bring the investigation to a close, the Department would escalate the matter to the attention of a prosecutor when its own policies require preliminary evidence of a criminal violation before initiating a criminal investigation.”

“My family and I are glad to have the investigation of my conduct in this matter behind us and we look forward to moving on to new challenges,” Judge Gonzales said.

Related links: http://www.GonzalesFacts.com

SOURCE George J. Terwilliger, III

Take a few moments to read Mr. Terwilliger’s submission to the Department. This is a good example of how to defend a client against allegations of illegal conduct when that client is, in fact, demonstrably guilty of those allegations. After 41 pages of smoke, mirrors and legal sleight of hand in his submission to the Department, Mr. Terwilliger is only able to reach these conclusions:

The Department’s flawed response to public criticism of the removal of certain U.S. Attorneys tended to obscure the unassailable conclusion that all U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President and, accordingly, may be removed by the President for any reason, or no reason at all. Because this controversy has offered ample evidence of the efficacy of the available political checks on U.S. Attorney removals perceived to be improper, and because there is no evidence of “improper reasons” for any of the recommended removals, there is no basis to conclude that it is necessary to alter the current balance of political power whereby U.S. Attorneys are nominated by the President, confirmed with the advice and consent of the Senate, and subject to removal by the President at any time.

The established balance of political power renders immaterial the underlying reasons for the removal of individual U.S. Attorneys, absent credible evidence of removal to improperly influence the conduct of a case. Instead, the OIG and OPR review could, we respectfully submit, provide the most benefit to the Department by examining the manner in which the Department responded to public criticism of the firings, specifically: (1) the manner in which information was shared within the Department; (2) the protocols for the drafting and submitting of Department statements to members of Congress, congressional committees, and the media; and (3) the manner in which senior Department officials were prepared for sworn testimony. Failures in all of these areas severely handicapped the Department’s ability to rebut allegations of politicization, and besmirched not only the reputations of political employees, but also the reputations of the many extraordinary career employees that continue to be the mainstay of the Department’s effectiveness in discharging the Department’s considerable responsibilities to the American people.

Most importantly, the OIG and OPR review provides an opportunity to reassure Congress and the public that there is no evidence that the U.S. Attorneys in question were removed in order to improperly allow partisan political considerations to compromise the independence of U.S. Attorneys in the execution of their responsibility to secure the fair administration of justice on matters within their purview.

(Footnotes omitted.)

According to Mr. Terwilliger, there is no evidence that Mr. Gonzales committed any improper act. Therefore, the OPR and OIG investigations should have, “examin[ed] the manner in which the Department responded to public criticism of the firings” which “could, [h]e respectfully submit, provide the most benefit to the Department.” Mr. Terwilliger’s argument distills down to this: “There’s nothing to see here. Go review internal DoJ office procedures instead. Then you can publicly announce that there’s nothing to see here.”

The link to GonzalesFacts.com that Mr. Terwilliger provides in his statement is also worth reading. In addition to his most recent statement, the What’s New page contains numerous other posts and statements. Interestingly, the media contact for GonzalesFacts.com is Robert H. Bork, Jr. You can also make a donation to Mr. Gonzales’ legal defense here – but please don’t.

*Well, sort of. Mr. Terwilliger’s response is via a link that is added to my post by a WordPress feature that automatically generates and embeds links that are ‘possibly related’ to the original post.

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E-mail to George J. Terwilliger III, counsel to Alberto Gonzales

George J. Terwilliger III
White & Case LLP
701 13th Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20005
Telephone: 202-626-3628
Fax: 202-639-9355
gterwilliger@whitecase.com

Dear Mr. Terwilliger:

I have been researching the conduct of various attorneys who, in the service of the government of the United States, have engaged in conduct that violates the rules of professional conduct with which each attorney must comply. I have prepared factual allegations of the conduct of various attorneys, including your client Alberto Gonzales, that establish violations of the applicable rules of professional responsibility. (I have also prepared complaints for Kyle Sampson, Harriet Miers, Lisa Murkowski, John Yoo, Mark Everett Fuller, Monica Marie Goodling, Thomas W. Hartmann and Michael J. Elston.) The conduct of your client has violated several of the rules of professional conduct of the Texas Bar. His actions raise a substantial question as to his honesty, trustworthiness and fitness as a lawyer.

The purpose of this e-mail is to offer your client, or you on his behalf, the opportunity to respond to these allegations. I look forward to your response.

E.M./The Grievance Project

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