June 28, 2021
October 5, 2021
Editorial credit: Susan Walsh
A coalition of lawyers, including former DOJ officials, past presidents of the District of Columbia Bar and the Women’s Bar Association, joined with Lawyers Defending American Democracy , as well as other distinguished bar members and ethics experts, to file an ethics complaint today against former Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey B. Clark. The detailed and meticulously analyzed complaint calls for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the DC Bar to discipline Mr. Clark for his extraordinary unethical conduct concerning the 2020 presidential election.
The complaint also went to the Department of Justice’s Inspector General and its Office of Professional Responsibility who reportedly have opened investigations of Mr. Clark. Each of those offices may refer matters to bar disciplinary authorities.
The complaint describes Mr. Clark’s reported efforts to have the Department of Justice initiate a process to assist former President Trump in overturning the results of the 2020 Presidential election by seeking to nullify the certified results in multiple states. The alleged misconduct includes Mr. Clark’s attempt to issue a false public statement that DOJ had “serious concerns” about the election results which would justify overriding the certified vote in Georgia and other states. Mr. Clark’s conduct violated DC’s Rules of Professional Conduct because assertions in his proposed letter were false and aimed to seriously interfere with the administration of justice.
The signers of the complaint include former senior Department of Justice officials, Stuart Gerson and Donald Ayer, past DC bar president, Melvin White, past DC Women’s Bar Association, Loralie Masters, Ambassador Norman Eisen, distinguished academics and ethics experts, including Professor Erwin Chemerinsky, and other prominent members of the DC Bar.
Scott Harshbarger, co-founder of LDAD stated: “Mr. Clark’s attempt to use the Department of Justice to falsely cast doubt on the integrity of the election demonstrated a stunning disregard for the ethical rules which govern lawyers and for our country’s democratic principles.”
James McHugh, a principal author of the complaint, and a former Massachusetts Appeals Court Judge, added, “Mr. Clark’s assertions had no basis in fact or law and were intended to perpetuate the presidency of the losing candidate in the election against the will of the voters. After investigation, if the allegations in this complaint are validated, Mr. Clark should be suspended from the practice of law or be permanently disbarred.”
LDAD has previously filed ethics complaints against Rudolph Giuliani, the lawyer for former President Trump, former Attorney General William Barr, and Texas Attorney General Kenneth Paxton. Mr. Giuliani has been suspended from the practice of law in New York and DC for his conduct in support of the false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen. The State Bar Texas has agreed to investigate Mr. Paxton in response LDAD’s complaint concerning his unethical efforts to overturn the 2020 election results through a baseless legal action in the Supreme Court.
THE ETHICS COMPLAINT AGAINST MR. CLARK