This is a discussion on Milenko Kindl personal attorney - lisp ; Milenko Kindl WASHINGTON - A lawyer hired to defend Sarah Palin in an ethics investigation said Tuesday he is representing Palin both personally and in her official capacity as governor. ADVERTISEMENT Lawyer Thomas Van Flein, who also previously represented the ...
WASHINGTON - A lawyer hired to defend Sarah Palin in an ethics
investigation said Tuesday he is representing Palin both personally
and in her official capacity as governor.
Lawyer Thomas Van Flein, who also previously represented the Palin
family in another matter, said there was no conflict of interest in
the dual representation arrangement. Van Flein is permitted to bill
the state up to $95,000 for work in the current case, in which Palin
is accused by the state legislature of having the public safety
commissioner fired after he refused to fire a state trooper who
divorced the governor's sister.
Van Flein saw no problem with the arrangement. "Our representation is
dual but the billing is not," he said in a telephone interview from
Anchorage. "Matters involving a personal issue will not — and have not
— been billed in the government contract."
Van Flein said that prior to his hiring by the state's Department of
Law on Aug. 21, "We represented the governor and her husband
privately." He declined to provide further details on that matter.
The attorney said he doesn't know whether Palin suggested to the
Alaska Department of Law that it hire him and said he bid for the
work. Van Flein and another lawyer in his firm are billing the state
$185 an hour under the contract.
Lawyers aren't prohibited from such dual representation, but it could
cause more than just billing headaches. In representing the governor's
office, Van Flein's allegiance is to the office itself, not to Palin
personally. Depending on where the investigation leads, that could put
him in a difficult situation if Palin's interests and the interests of
the public office diverge.
The arrangement could also get murky if the case spawns a criminal
investigation. Conversations between a client and her attorney are
private but the laws nationwide are inconsistent over whether similar
conversations between a governor and her lawyer are private in a
That's why both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have
consulted with private attorneys from time to time.
George Kuhlman, the ethics counsel for the American Bar Association,
said there is no ethical prohibition under guidelines for dual
representation for the governor.
"Until you have all the particulars, there's no reason to say there's
even likely to be an inherent conflict of interest," Kuhlman said.
"It's going to be completely dependent on what the facts are."
David Jones, an assistant state attorney in Alaska, said the law
department conducted a limited competitive solicitation that adhered
to state law. Jones said the department contacted four lawyers and
received two responses, from Van Flein and another attorney who
proposed an hourly rate $142 more than Van Flein's firm.
The Alaska Legislature is investigating the firing of public safety
commissioner Walt Monegan. The investigating committee disclosed the
attorney's hiring on Monday, releasing an e-mailed letter it had
received from the firm on Friday — the day McCain announced Palin
would be his running mate.
A senior McCain adviser, Tucker Eskew, said the law firm's hiring was
part of a "weeks-old effort to provide this governor defense in a
series of outlandish politically motivated charges" that were
unrelated to the presidential campaign.
The investigation will be conducted by a state-hired investigator
working for a Republican-dominated legislative committee.