Client fires Morgan Lewis over Trump representation
Corrected: An private foundation has fired Morgan, Lewis & Bockius because of its legal advice on financial conflicts to President Donald Trump.
H. Scott Wallace, co-chair of the Wallace Global Fund, told the law firm of his decision in a March 28 letter, report Law.com (sub. req.), Politico, Bloomberg Big Law Business and Philly.com. Wallace is the grandson of the late Henry Wallace, who served as vice president to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Tax records indicate the fund paid more than $77,000 to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in the most recent fiscal year, according to Law.com.
The letter focused on partner Sheri Dillon’s appearance at a January press conference to explain how the president-elect would deal with conflicts issues by putting his assets in a trust and giving control of his business to his two adult sons.
Dillon’s advice, the letter said, “is not just simplistic and ill-founded.” It also “empowers and even encourages impeachable offenses and undetectable financial conflicts of interest by America’s highest official, and thus is an unprecedented invitation to corruption and an assault on our democracy,” the letter asserted.
The letter referred to “ethical carnage” that already has occurred. The letter cited several alleged examples, including these: Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel has hired a “director of diplomatic sales” to court business from foreign governments, his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida has seen booming business, and he was granted 38 trademarks by China after he reversed course and supported a one-China policy.
“It is painfully obvious that Trump is using his office for personal gain,” Wallace wrote. “And Morgan Lewis is enabling and legitimizing this. The idea of a ‘trust’ run by Trump’s sons is a fig leaf.”
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius did not comment when contacted by the publications. Philly.com points out that the firm “cultivates an image as a bipartisan firm with both Republicans and Democrats in senior positions. It has litigated a host of pro bono cases seeking to overturn death-penalty convictions, uphold immigrant rights, and advocate on behalf of same-sex marriage.”
Updated April 7 to clarify that Wallace Global Fund is a private foundation.
Wallace Global Fund was misidentified as an investment fund. It is a private foundation funding social causes.