The National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute
CEPI Newsletter November 2018
This monthly compendium of news reports about corruption and ethics issues is brought to you by the Center for Ethics and Public Integrity (CEPI). Neither the National Association of Attorneys General nor the National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute express a view as to the accuracy of news accounts or affirm any position taken by the authors of the hyperlinked articles.
EPA Administrator, Former Environmental Commissioner Booked Into Jail: Region 4 Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Trey Glenn and former Alabama Environmental Management commissioner Schott Phillips were charged with multiple violations of Alabama’s Ethics Act for accepting bribes.
State Rep. Vanessa Brown Guilty on All Counts; Took $4,000 Bribe in Sting: Pennsylvania State Representative Vanessa Lowery Brown has been convicted of accepting a bribe and violating the state conflict-of-interest laws, as well as failing to report the bribe she was paid on a financial disclosure form. She will lose her pension and be barred from serving in state government. The case was connected to the prosecution of former Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who leaked grand jury information about it to the media in an attempt to embarrass one of the prosecutors on the case.
SC Rep. Harrison Found Guilty in Public Corruption Case, Gets Prison Sentence: Former South Carolina State Representative Jim Harrison was sentenced to 18 months in prison after being convicted at trial. Harrison’s conviction is the result of an ongoing state grand jury investigation that has resulted in the guilty pleas of three other lawmakers. Harrison was convicted of perjury and misconduct in a case that stemmed from his acceptance of nearly $1 million from a consulting firm in exchange for helping that firm’s clients get their bills passed in the state legislature.
Former BE Twp. Officials Charged with Corruption: The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office has charged James H. Bechdel, Sr. with fraudulently obtaining a Federal Emergency Management Agency travel trailer, and Michelle L. Walizer with embezzling more than $76,000 from Bald Eagle Township, where both she and Bechdel were officials, and lying about the use of the FEMA trailer Bechdel obtained.
Haddon Township Former Commissioner Paul Dougherty Pleads Guilty: Former Haddon Township, New Jersey Commissioner Paul Daugherty pled guilty to charges related to accepting an unlawful referral fee. Daugherty referred a police officer in the township he represented to a firm for the purposes of suing his township, and accepted a $7,000 fee from the firm for the referral. Daugherty has forfeited his position and will be permanently barred from public office.
El Chapo on Trial: Informant Says Interpol, Mexican Officials Paid to Keep Drugs Moving: A cooperating witness in the trial of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, head of the Sinaloa cartel, testified that Guzmán’s organization paid large bribes to Mexican prosecutors, police, intelligence officers, and military to protect his organization from prosecution in his home country. Guzmán also paid bribes to INTERPOL.
Ex-Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski Sentenced to 15 Years for Corruption Conviction: Former Allentown, Pennsylvania Mayor Ed Pawlowski was sentenced to fifteen years in federal prison for coercing city vendors to contribute to his campaign funds for governor and U.S Senate.
Ex-N.Y. State Senate Leader Gets Prison in Federal Corruption Case: Former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who was successfully retried after his first trial was reversed because the jury instructions were not McDonnell-compliant, has been sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison. His son, Adam, who was charged in the same case, was sentenced to four years in prison. The case famously included wiretaps during which Adam groused to his father about the then-U.S. Attorney: “I can’t even have a conversation with you because you’re in f***ing politics and everything, you know? It’s just frustrating because you can’t talk normal. It’s like f***ing Preet Bharara is listening to every f***ing phone call and it’s f***ing frustrating.”
As A Cop, He Once Put Bad Guys Away. Now, Opa-Locka’s ‘Shadow Mayor’ is in Prison: Dante Starks, who was once a Miami-Dade police officer, has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for running a “shadow government” of shaking down business owners and contractors in Opa-locka, Florida.
New Ethics Guidance for Lawyers from the American Bar Association (ABA) Regarding Data Breach and Cyber-Attack: The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has released a formal opinion that discusses a lawyer’s duty to undertake reasonable efforts to avoid data loss and/or to detect cyber intrusion.
Former Chief Justice Encourages Judges to Get Off Facebook: The Florida Supreme Court released a 4-3 decision concluding that a Facebook friendship between an attorney and a judge is not sufficient to require the judge to recuse himself or to require the judge’s disqualification. A concurring justice nonetheless recommended that new judges with Facebook accounts deactivate them.
The New York Prosecutorial Misconduct Commission: What Comes Next?: The Columbia Law School Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity details a recent New York law that creates the first prosecutorial misconduct commission in the United States. The commission—which is the subject of lawsuits by prosecutors who argue that it violates the New York and U.S. Constitutions—is slated to be formed on January 1, 2019, and will oversee New York’s district attorneys and assistant district attorneys. It will have the ability to investigate instances of prosecutorial misconduct and probe prosecutors’ qualifications and fitness to perform their official duties.
“Say It Ain’t So, Sergio!”: Judge Moro’s Appointment to the Bolsonaro Cabinet Is a Setback for Brazil’s Struggle Against Corruption: Prof. Matthew Stephenson, of the Global Anticorruption Blog, makes a compelling argument that Brazilian Judge Sergio Moro—who led the Car Wash investigation—should decline his appointment to serve as Minister of Justice under recently-elected President Jair Bolsonaro. Prof. Stephenson notes that the Car Wash investigation uncovered corrupt acts primarily involving the Worker’s Party—the party that Bolsonaro defeated in his recent election—and this appointment might put in doubt the integrity of the Car Wash case.
Malaysia Imposes Corporate and Personal Liability for Organizational Bribery: The FCPA Blog discusses the amendment of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, which now provides prosecutors with tools to prosecute corporations—not only individuals. The amendments provide for fines of up to ten times a bribe amount, or RM 1 million (about $240,000)—whichever is higher—and are based in part on the UK Bribery Act 2010.
Mexican Government Shields Officials From Corruption Probe: In Mexico, the administration of departing president Enrique Pena Nieto is trying to shield itself from a corruption investigation by filing a motion to block any “existing or imminent” legal actions against “current or prior federal public officials,” either “directly or indirectly (related) to the exercise of their duties.” The investigation purportedly involves public funds that were diverted to a campaign of Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party.
State Capture: Who Will Go to Jail First?: In South Africa, an analysis of the corruption prosecution of former South African President Jacob Zuma recognizes the important role that prosecutors can play in deterring corruption, outlining how Zuma reduced the power of prosecutors and law enforcement officers charged with investigating corruption: “There is no point in setting up a massive looting scheme with vigilant detectives and prosecutors in your way.”
Amie Ely is the Director of the Center for Ethics & Public Integrity and the Editor of the CEPI Newsletter and may be reached at 202-326-6041. The CEPI Newsletter is a publication of the National Association of Attorneys General. Any use and/or copies of this newsletter in whole or part must include the customary bibliographic citation. NAAG retains copyright and all other intellectual property rights in the material presented in this publication. For content submissions or to contact the editor directly, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.