Friday, August 28, 2009
For those who have wondered whether any lawyer would be sanctioned for Bush era Department of Justice abuses, the answer is yes. The first (to my knowledge) such sanction is an informal admonition issued to former department spokesman John A. Nowacki by the District of Columbia Office of Bar Counsel. The attorney did not dispute findings of the DOJ Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility that he had drafted a proposed media release that he knew was inaccurate and concealed information from department investigators concerning Monica Goodling's political litmus hiring practices. The findings may be found at pages 125-28 of the above-linked report.
Bar Counsel concluded that the conduct violated the prohibition against dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. The rules governing bar discipline in the District of Columbia grant Bar Counsel the authority to issue an informal admonition on approval of a hearing committee lawyer-member without any hearing.
The informal admonition is a public sanction that does not involve any other interruption of practice. An attorney may reject the admonition and be subject to charges that, if sustained, could result in a more severe sanction. The informal admonition may be found by going to this link and entering the name of the attorney. (Mike Frisch)