Wallace Global Fund charity fires lawyers for being inconsistent with their values

April 07, 2017 | By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Mark Blumberg
Topics: News, Canadian Charity Law, Ethics and Canadian Charities, Avoiding 'Charity' Scams

Here is an interesting article from the NPQ entitled "Wallace Global Fund Fires Law Firm for Aiding Trump’s “Ethical Carnage”. It discusses how a large US charity has decided to sever a long term relationship with a major US law firm because they represent Donald Trump and blessed the highly questionable trust arrangement that Donald Trump is using to ostensibly avoid conflicts of interest while he is President of the US.

The Wallace Global Funds identifies its mission as "The mission of the Wallace Global Fund is to promote an informed and engaged citizenry, to fight injustice, and to protect the diversity of nature and the natural systems upon which all life depends."

Here is the full letter which is worth reading.   Here are some highlights from the letter:

This is to inform you that we have decided to terminate our relationship with Morgan Lewis, out of profound disagreement with the firm's representation of President Donald Trump. We believe that the legal advice given to him by your partner Sheri Dillon, in the January 11 press conference and background "white paper," is not just simplistic and ill-founded, but that it 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.

We feel it is important to convey our decision not just to our attorneys, ... who have done good work for us over the years, but to the firm's leadership, to invite you to think about larger principles than simple zealous representation of a client.  ...

It is painfully obvious that Trump is using his office for personal gain. And Morgan Lewis is enabling and legitimizing this. The idea of a "trust" run by Trump's sons is a fig leaf. It has been found to be "meaningless" by the Director of the Office of Government Ethics, and "absurd" and "wholly deficient," and a path to impeachment, by the Brookings report.  

Our foundation is guided by values of open and accountable democratic governance. The sham "trust" arrangement which Morgan Lewis has blessed - enabling unchecked self-dealing, Jami Wintz McKeon flouting of the Constitution, and concealment of the truth from the public that President Trump has sworn to serve - is fundamentally inconsistent with these values and, we fear, destructive to the fabric of our democracy. [my emphasis] 

Americans deserve a President of undivided loyalty. Your firm has denied them that. We cannot be complicit in that.

There was an interesting comment at the bottom of the NPQ article "I'm glad Wallace Global fired the firm, and I loved Scott's letter. But why in the world was Wallace Global using that firm in the first place? I've always thought of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius as a right-wing firm. Yes, they are very knowledgeable about exempt organization law. But there are many such firms with values that are more aligned with the foundation's values." 

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Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.

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