Jill Simpson Alleges Conflict of Interest by Obama’s Attorney
by Glynn Wilson
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — North Alabama attorney and GOP whistle-blower Jill Simpson is asking that White House Counsel Greg Craig recuse himself from consulting with President Obama on his legal position over executive privilege in the case of Karl Rove, the former political adviser to President Bush who is still defiance of a Congressional subpoena to testify about his role in the political prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and other crimes.
Citing the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers, Ms. Simpson’s attorney Priscilla Black Duncan writes in a letter dated Feb. 22 that Craig should “step down” from his position as White House Counsel, “at least in all matters dealing with the Bush administration.”
In what appears to be a clear conflict of interest, Craig represented Rove in his recent book deal, while Craig’s law partner, close associate and mentor, Emmet Flood, is representing Bush in executive privilege matters before the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals, where Bush administration officials have been charged with the political firings of U.S. attorneys for failing to act on orders to prosecute Democrats prior to elections.
Furthermore, Craig had been in contact with Ms. Simpson on the pretense of possibly representing her in her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee legal team a year and a half ago, but declined to represent her only after getting her to reveal her entire case against Mr. Rove.
“You had a duty to disclose your relationship with Rove to Ms. Simpson before she revealed the details of her involvement, because you knew from initial contacts that you had a conflict,” Duncan writes in the letter. “You have a duty now to turn over any material relating to disclosure of that information as well as to allocute to whom you passed the knowledge.”
Ms. Simpson also demands to know the identities of anyone contacted about the recommendation to seek legal services from Washington attorney David Laufman, also known as “Bush’s Cleaner,” or Montgomery Republican Tommy Gallion, who after months of intensive discussions with Ms. Simpson, indicated he was in regular contact with President Bush on her case.
Gallion has repeatedly declined to answer my direct questions about Bush’s knowledge of the Siegelman case.
If Bush was as interested in the case as Gallion indicated to Ms. Simpson, that would place him directly in the loop in the political prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Perhaps Congress should also considering issuing a subpoena to Bush himself to testify under oath, since he refuses to allow Rove to testify, claiming staff executive privilege in his case.
The White House could not be reached for comment.
Read the full text of the letter below the jump…
Hon. Greg Craig
Office of the White House Counsel
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington D.C. 20500
February 22, 2009
RE: Your position regarding advising the President
on the pending testimony of Karl Rove
Dear Attorney Craig:
I represent Dana Jill Simpson, an attorney in Rainsville, Alabama, who testified before Congress in September 2007, regarding Karl Rove’s involvement in the U.S. Justice Department prosecution of Gov. Don Siegelman.
She is very concerned that you have violated the Rules of Professional Conduct 1.6 , 1.7 and 1.10, while citing 1.9 to decline representation. She is equally concerned about the person or persons to whom you have divulged her confidential information. Your recent efforts on the part of negotiating a settlement between Congress and Karl Rove have been noted, as well as your efforts to delay matters before the D.C. Court of Appeals, regarding Rove and other Bush administration officers claiming executive privilege.
For this reason, she is asking that you step down from your position as White House Counsel, at least in all matters dealing with the Bush administration. Further, she is asking that you furnish her with a list of each and every person with whom you have communicated regarding this matter; that is, Miss Simpson’s affidavit, testimony, knowledge, research and any other matters touching or information furnished by Miss Simpson.
In recapping the events linking you and Miss Simpson:
1.) Upon information and belief, Gov. Don Siegelman or his agent made the direct call to you at your law firm, Williams & Connolly, soliciting your pro bono representation of Ms. Simpson, with regard to her affidavit about Karl Rove’s involvement in Siegelman’s prosecution.
2.) According to Ms. Simpson, you called her up to four times on or about March 16-17, 2007, and you faxed her your resume.
3.) She initially asked, “Before we really start this, do you have any contacts with George Bush, Karl Rove, Don Siegelman or Bob Riley?”
4.) You indicated you did not and said, “Tell me who this is about.”
5.) Your initial conversation with Ms. Simpson lasted about 10 to 15 minutes.
6.) In three conversations of nearly two hours, you extracted particular details of her involvement, and you asked her specifically about the length of time and character of her contact with Karl Rove, the extent of her work with the GOP and her knowledge of U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller’s owner-interest in Doss Aviation, a major federal contractor, and matters dealing with lobbyist G. Stewart Hall’s then-Federalist Group and the steering of contracts to Fuller’s company and companies related to Gov. Bob Riley’s son, Rob Riley.
7.) After this extensive questioning, which included another session for the questions you had formulated, you announced that you couldn’t represent her because you had represented Sen. Richard Shelby during the 2004-2005 investigations of his alleged national security leaks.
8.) Ms. Simpson says that you related to her that Sen. Shelby had told you “ in confidence” that he “owned and controlled Doss Aviation out of the federal courthouse in Montgomery,” and that Doss Aviation’s, 1 Church Street, mail was delivered to Shelby’s Senate office, even before Fuller was appointed judge. You told her that you “didn’t really like” Shelby, that the Doss connection had not been discovered during the previous hearing, but that, “It will come up, if you really go into it.”
9.) You failed to mention to Miss Simpson, however, that you were a friend of Karl Rove, had shared drinks with Karl Rove, that your law firm, Williams & Connolly, was representing Vice President Cheney on Scooter Libby’s role in the Valerie Plame case in which Rove was involved; that your firm has advised the White House not to turn over GOP emails regarding the firing of nine U.S. Attorneys. Nor did you disclose your firm’s involvement in defending Iran-Contra figures, which you knew or should have known play a key role in the current military contracts routed to Doss Aviation.
Now, I understand your firm is handling Karl Rove’s book deal. Currently, your former close associate and mentor, Emmet Flood is representing former President Bush in executive privilege matters before the D.C. Court of Appeals with regard to political firings of U.S. Attorneys who failed to act on orders to prosecute Democrats prior to elections – matters in which you are directly involved in your role as President Obama’s White House Counsel.
You had a duty to disclose your relationship with Rove to Miss Simpson before she revealed the details of her involvement, because you knew from initial contacts that you had a conflict. You have a duty now to turn over any material relating to disclosure of that information as well as to allocute to whom you passed the knowledge. She also inquires whether you or anyone to you contacted is responsible for recommending legal services from Washington attorney David Laufman, also known as “Bush’s Cleaner,” or Montgomery Republican Tommy Gallion, who after months of intensive discussions with Ms. Simpson, indicated he was in regular contact with President Bush on her matter.
Ms. Simpson asks that you withdraw from any representation of the President on these matters due to your conflicts and those of Williams & Connolly in this area. If you respect the legal Code of Professional Conduct, you must take action to remedy the damage you have done to Ms. Simpson, Mr. Shelby and the legal profession.
We would appreciate an answer no later than three business days.
Priscilla Black Duncan
Attorney for Jill Simpson
© 2009, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.