Brown: Investigate Claims Warren Represented Clients 'Without a Law License'
Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown is not only criticizing his opponent, Democrat Harvard Elizabeth Warren for her legal representation of large corporations such as LTV, Travelers Insurance, and Dow Chemical against the little guy.
Now he's criticizing her for allegedly practicing law without a license:
“So once again, we find out that she’s been working not for the little guy, not for the victims, as she said, in the middle class, but for the large corporation as a hired gun, and doing that, quite frankly, without a law license, something that I know is something that should be looked into,” Brown told reporters in Winchester Wednesday.
“I know I have to be admitted to the bar,” he added. “I took the test, passed the test, and any time you are giving out information, you need to have a license.”
Brown's comments come on the heels of the Boston Globe's Frank Phillips interview on WRKO radio Tuesday where he claimed there was nothing to the Elizabeth Warren law license controversy. When asked if there should be an investigation into whether or not Elizabeth Warren practiced law in MA without a license, Phillips responded dismissively:
I've looked at that very carefully. I've talked to the General Counsel of the Board of Overseers [Michael Fredrickson], I've talked to the former General Counsel, I've talked to attorneys who deal in legal ethical issues. It's a non-issue. It's an issue being stirred up by some right wing bloggers. We're not going to fall into that.
Unless you can find that she set up shop and put out a shingle and started to solicit people to go into the Massachusetts Court to practice in the Registry of Deeds and things like that. To do consultant appellate work at the Supreme Court and Federal Appelate Courts as a side to your main job, you don't have to...they don't see that as a reason [to investigate]... They don't see that as [an issue]... and they're the licensing authority in the state." [emphasis added]
There are several problems with this assessment.
To begin with, the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (the "BBO"), the authorized licensing authority in the state, has not undertaken a formal investigation of the complaints. As Breitbart News reported on Monday:
Michael Fredrickson is the General Counsel for the BBO, Constance Vecchione is the lead attorney for the Office of Bar Counsel. Fredrickson has previously stated that the two organizations usually work very closely in investigations.
Jacobson pointed out it was unusual for someone in Fredrickson's position to be commenting publicly, particularly before there had been an investigation.
Breitbart spoke with Fredrickson on Monday, who refused to comment in an official capacity as General Counsel of the BBO, saying only that "my personal comment is that I will not be commenting further about this matter in a personal capacity."
There are several additional problems with Phillips' dismissal of the charges against Ms. Warren. General Counsel Fredrickson has admitted that he was only expressing his personal opinion when he spoke with the Massachusetts Law Weekly within hours of the story breaking. He subsequently admitted that he is not familiar with the details of Ms. Warren's law practice.
Finally, the practice at BBO in cases in which complaints have been filed has been for BBO officials not to comment publicly--either on behalf of themselves privately or citing their position at the BBO. Though it is not known if a complaint has yet been filed with the BBO against Ms. Warren, common sense and prudence suggests public comments by anyone at BBO are inappropriate until a formal determination has been made, whether it be to reject a potential complaint or to initiate an investigation.
At the very least, Mr. Fredrickson's public comments have poisoned the well of any future investigation and has damaged public confidence in the BBO.
Mr. Fredrickson subsequently told Breitbart News that he was no longer going to comment personally on the matter. It is uncertain if Mr. Fredrickson spoke with Mr. Phillips at the Boston Globe before or after he made that statement.