Ethics

Misuse of Titles by Former Government Lawyers

Peter A. Joy And Kevin C. McMunigal

A number of lawyers associated with President Donald Trump, within and outside his administration, have faced ethical challenges. While the ethical issues for President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen have grabbed the most headlines, recently revealed actions of Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on behalf of World Patent Marketing, a company the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accused of bilking millions of dollars from consumers, raise serious ethical questions. (Whitaker Knew of Fraud Complaints While at World Patent Marketing: Documents, Reuters (Nov. 30, 2018).) Among these questions are Whittaker’s using his title and position as a former U.S. attorney in Iowa in letters long after he had left that position and adopting and forwarding statements prepared by others in responding to complaints about World Patent Marketing.

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