The dodgy (extra)legal career of Willard Mitt Romney
"The dodgy (extra)legal career of Willard Mitt Romney"
by Ed Slavin
Copyright (c) 2012 All Rights Reserved Ed Slavin
PO Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085
WILLARD MITT ROMNEY “joked” August 24 that no one ever asked to see his birth certificate. True, but in five years seeking the presidency, has anyone in journalism or politics ever bothered about checking up on ROMNEY's law license?
This is a story about a wealthy, superbly legally-trained rich man, someone who wants be your next President. Like President Obama, WILLARD MITT ROMNEY (a/k/a “MITTENS”) earned a Harvard Law degree. Unlike President Obama, WILLARD MITT ROMNEY never practiced law. Wonder why?
WILLARD MITT ROMNEY went from committing a serious hate crime at age eighteen (18), in a Michigan preparatory school (never prosecuted) to graduating from Harvard Law School, to becoming a Michigan lawyer (but converting to "inactive" license status on the same day).
WILLARD MITT ROMNEY then became rich, very rich, using legal loopholes he learned at Harvard. He helped export jobs by the thousands to India, China and elsewhere.
It happened in America, in 1965.
As documented by the Washington Postin May 2012, WILLARD MITT ROMNEY, the fortunate son of former American Motors CEO and Michigan Governor George Romney was angry at John Lauber, who was a fellow student at his Bloomfield Hills, Michigan boarding school.
Legally an adult in Michigan, where his father was Governor, biogoted homophobe prep school senior WILLARD MITT ROMNEY retaliated by committing the crime of assault and battery, enlisting five colleagues to join in the felony.
At age eighteen (18), WILLARD MITT ROMNEY returned from a three-week Spring Break and observed in his dormitory a Gay, bleached-blonde, long-haired fellow student at his Michigan prep school, Cranbrook. WILLARD MITT ROMNEY reportedly reacted angrily, stating, as the Washington Posthas reported, "He can't look like that. That's wrong. Just look at him!"At eighteen, the Michigan Governor's son, a leader of a wolfpack of rich young men, WILLARD MITT ROMNEY persuaded five fellow students to hold the young man down, crying, while Romney cut his long bleached blonde hair off.
WILLARD MITT ROMNEY laughed it off after the Washington Postbroke the story. John Lauber, the apparently Gay fellow Michigan prep school student who got the assaultive WILLARD MITT ROMNEY “haircut” was later expelled for smoking one (1) tobacco cigaratte. Nothing happened to WILLARD MITT ROMNEY for the assault and battery -- his father was the Governor of Michigan, and he led a charmed life ever since.
While his classmates fought and died in Vietnam, WILLARD MITT ROMNEY flew to France as a Mormon missionary for two years.
Some eleven (11) years later, WILLARD MITT ROMNEY graduated both Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School at the same time.
WILLARD MITT ROMNEY took and passed the Michigan Bar Exam.
WILLARD MITT ROMNEY passed Michigan's character and fitness tests.
WILLARD MITT ROMNEY became a Michigan lawyer, subject to Michigan's Bar rules and standards for investigation, hearings, suspension and disbarment for ethics rule violations.
Subject to those rules, WILLARD MITT ROMNEY was sworn in to the Michigan State Bar as an attorney before the Oakland County Circuit Court on August 3, 1976.
Then, a funny thing happened -- WILLARD MITT ROMNEY immediately converted his active Michigan law license to an "inactive" license. Why?
“I've never heard of that,” said one prominent Harvard Law School graduate.
As a student at Harvard Law School (HLS), Romney received the benefits of a prestigious joint MBA and Law Degree -- WILLARD MITT ROMNEY was one of only 15 of 1300 law and business students at the time to do so.
As an HLS graduate, WILLARD MITT ROMNEY got all of the benefits of an exclusive law school education, with not one (1) of the responsibilities.
No one would ever ask WILLARD MITT ROMNEY to represent the poor or the unpopular.
No one would ever file a Bar complaint against WILLARD MITT ROMNEY.
No one could.
Unlike President Obama,WILLARD MITT ROMNEYnever filed a civil rights case, or faced consequences.
"Ideas have consequences," as my Georgetown University School of Foreign Service Political Theory Professor, Jose Sorzano (later Assistant UN Ambassador under fellow professor Jeanne Kirkpatrick).
The "consequences" of WILLARD MITT ROMNEY immediately converting his Michigan law license to "inactive" meant that he was "giving up most of the rights and obtaining relief from most of the responsibilities of membership in the Bar," as the late Vanderbilt University Law Professor L. Harold Levinson wrote in 1999 for the American Bar Association about the meaning of "inactive" status.
After nearly three months, the Michigan Bar has offered opinions about how many lawyers might do this, but not one statistic.
When Willard Mitt Romney and his Bain & Company colleagues filed disclosure statements with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, no one could file a Bar complaint that his statements were untrue and therefore unethical.
WILLARD MITT ROMNEY "inactive" status meant he could not be touched. Untouchable. Sure, WILLARD MITT ROMNEY and his partners could be sued (but securities laws were weakened by Congress over President Clinton's veto in 1996). But WILLARD MITT ROMNEY would never attract any of those disciplinary complaints that licensed attorneys may receive, especially those working on high-profile cases for controversial clients.
(Full disclosure: I am a disbarred lawyer formerly licensed in Tennessee and the District of Columbia, who once clerked for the Chief Judge of the U.S. Department of Labor, then for years proudly represented environmental, nuclear, weapons and trucking whistleblowers, and other discrimination victims).
After Harvard, WILLARD MITT ROMNEY was doubling his investors' money every single year, as he haughtily exported American jobs to China and India. But no matter what Mitt Romney ever did, no one could ever complain to the Bar that his actions were unethical -- Romney's law license was always "inactive."
When Willard Mitt Romney and his Bain partners took investments, no one could holler to the Michigan Bar, "That's wrong !"
To borrow the immortal words of that hoary 'ole American Express television ad, "Inactive Michigan Bar license, no Bar complaints, a quarter billion dollars of net worth using/abusing the legal system -- priceless!"
For eight (8) years, commencing in 2004, WILLARD MITT ROMNEY's Michigan inactive law license was "suspended" for nonpayment of Bar dues. Romney's Michigan law license remained "suspended" for nonpayment of Bafr dues for eight years, until June 14, 2012. That was several days after I asked the Michigan Bar for details and documentation.
On June 14, 2012, Willard Mitt Romney's "suspended" Michigan law license was, hesto presto, mutatis mutandis, belatedly and graciously converted to "Emeritus" status, reserved for people licensed more than 30 years or people over age 70. Emeriti lawyers in Michigan are not required to pay Bar dues.
Keeping a current address on file with the Michigan Bar is the sort of administrative detail that most wealthy people delegate, relying on their staff to take care of it. WILLARD MITT ROMNEY's staff has not responded to questions.
WILLARD MITT ROMNEY's legal record is execrable -- he got a law license and gave it up in one day, becoming "inactive" ab initio. Romney never argued or advocated to reform a thing. WILLARD MITT ROMNEY never once spoke out against an injustice, anywhere despite a superior mind and the tools of a first-rate education at an expensive law school. WILLARD MITT ROMNEY never "comforted the afflicted" -- he was too busy enriching the comfortable, insulting the disadvantaged and afflicting the afflicted.
WILLARD MITT ROMNEY is no Abraham Lincoln, no Robert Kennedy and no Barack Obama.
WILLARD MITT ROMNEY never used his Harvard-trained legal skills to represent the poor or the unpopular, or to stand up for the rights of others.
WILLARD MITT ROMNEY was all about one thing -- making money for the very rich.
Michigan's Supreme Court changed its rules effective 2004, requiring that “inactive” lawyers pay Bar dues. Many, including graduates of Michigan's well-regarded law schools, had gone "inactive" years before, upon taking the Bar and leaving the state, and many “inactive” Michigan-licensed lawyers had forgotten to file new addresses, as was technically required by Michigan Supreme Court Rules. The problem persisted for years, as mail was returned. Apparently, the son of Michigan Governor George Romney did not learn of his Michigan Bar dues requirement, 2004-2012 – eight (8) years.
Romney's failing to file his address with the State Bar of Michigan was a technical violation of Michigan court rules, but it is unlikely that Romney will be fined for it.
Yet we expect the national media to uncover such facts about someone who has been running for president since January 3, 2007.
We await comment from the Romney campaign.
To be continued....
Copyright (c) 2012 All Rights Reserved Ed Slavin
For more information, please seeJune 19, 2012, August 27 and September 4, 2012 correspondence from the State Bar of Michigan:
JUNE 19, 2012 E-mail
In response to your most recent e-mail to State Bar Executive Director Janet Welch regarding Mr. Romney, please note the following.
Your request for records regarding a member of the State Bar is governed by the Bar'sAccess to Record Policy, a copy of which is attached, and Rule 19 of the Supreme Court Rules Concerning the State Bar of Michigan. Reduced to its essentials, the Bar will provide a member's name, firm and business address, admit date, P number, membership status, committee and section involvement and other contact info, as a matter of course. The member information available on Mr. Romney is disclosed in the Bar's online member directory, which I believe you have already visited.
Reading Mr. Romney's current status, State Bar of Michigan member, Willard M. Romney (P40351), is currently Emeritus and in good standing with the State Bar of Michigan. He was sworn in at Oakland County Circuit Court on August 3, 1976. He joined SBM as an Inactive member on August 3, 1976. On information and belief, it does not appear that he actually ever practiced law in Michigan. (Emphasis added).
In 2003 the Michigan Supreme Court changed the SBM dues structure beginning fiscal year 2003-2004.This change required Inactive members pay bar dues. As the Bar had many Inactive members on its rolls that had not been heard from in years, sometimes decades, notifying some of these Inactive members of the newly imposed requirement that they pay Inactive dues proved problematic as the addresses provided years previously were no longer current.
Attorney Romney’s (P40351) status was changed to suspended for non-payment of dues on March 1, 2004, as was the status of many other similarly situated Inactive members. This was an administrative suspension and not related to complaints or discipline. Attorney Romney’s (P40351) status was updated to Emeritus on June 14, 2012. (Emphases added).
The State Bar is not responsible for handling attorney discipline issues. That responsibility rests with the Attorney Grievance Commission (http://www.agcmi.com/) and the Attorney Discipline Board, both of which are agencies of the Michigan Supreme Court. Disciplinaryhistory questions can be directed to the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board at 313-963-5553 or looked up on their website,www.adbmich.org. In reviewing the online records of the ADB, it does not appear Mr. Romney has ever been the subject of disciplinary proceedings in Michigan, which is not surprising given that it does not appear he has ever practiced in Michigan.
I trust this is responsive to your request. If not, feel free to contact me.
Clifford T. Flood
General Counsel, State Bar of Michigan
SEPTEMBER 4, 2012 E-mail
I do recall we spoke at some length during a telephone conversation in June (apparently 38 minutes). I also recall that I tried to answer all of your questions and that in response to your request, I agreed to see if the Bar could determine what percentage of its members sought Inactive membership status upon admission to the Bar. My August 27th e-mail was in response to your request.
Attached is a copy of the Bar's Access to Information Policy. It governs requests for information relating to the Bar and its members.
Ed, it would take days and days to go through the records as many of the years covered are before computers were widely used and as a consequence, the data has not been digitized. I do not see where the effort is justified, especially since the information is not subject to disclosure under the Bar's Access to Information Policy.
Can your IT person please derive statistics from computer records? Thank you.
-----Original Message----- From: CFLOOD@mail.michbar.org To: Ed Slavin Sent: Mon, Aug 27, 2012 6:04 am Subject: Re: Mittens Romney law license comparitors
No statistics are maintained on the number of members sworn into the Bar who select Inactive status within a year or less or the same day. I am informed, however, that it is not unusual for members to do so immediately upon application to the Bar and even less unusual to do so within a year of admission. (This was especially true prior to 2004, when those selecting Inactive status were not required to pay any annual dues. I suspect it happens less frequently now than in the past because Inactives are now assessed dues equal to about 75% of the dues Active members pay.) The University of Michigan Law School, for example, graduates many students who hail from other states who take the Bar here but then promptly move on to careers that either do not require licensure in the local jurisdiction (law school jobs, for example) or do not require licensure at all... Similarly, it is not unusual for Michigan raised students matriculating in law schools in other states to take the Bar here but then not pursue practicing here.