Saturday, August 2, 2008

Internet Group Anonymous Files Bar Complaint Against Obama

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Anonymous announced that they have filed a complaint with the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission requesting an investigation into false statements and misrepresentations Barack Hussein Obama made on his own bar application. The group cited information, which if true, would be grounds for disbarment. Anonymous accuses Mr. Obama of using illegal drugs and then concealing his drug use by lying about it on his bar application. Either action could be an independent basis for disciplinary action against the Presidential nominee. The group claims that an investigation would identify facts that demonstrate Obama has engaged in conduct which brings the courts or the legal profession into disrepute, engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, and engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.

Anonymous’ complaint alleges that by consuming illegal drugs Obama was violating New York Penal Law Sec. 220.06, which criminalizes cocaine use.[1] If proven, that level of drug use is a felony. Commission of such a criminal act is ethically prohibited as it reflects adversely on the lawyer’s fitness to practice law. See Rule 8.4(a)(3). The complaint further alleges that Obama engaged in multiple violations of Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (”Rules”), including Rule 8.1 which prohibits lawyers from making a statement of material fact in connection with a bar application that the applicant knows to be false; Rule 8.4(a)(4) which prohibits lawyers from engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; Rule 8.4(a)(5) which bars lawyers from participating in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice; and Supreme Court Rule 771 which prohibits lawyers from engaging in conduct which brings the courts or the legal profession into disrepute.

The complaint also alleges that Obama had an obligation to report unpaid criminal citations, including parking violations where the fines totaled more than $200.00 or remained unpaid.[2][3] Anonymous stated, “Instead of accepting responsibility and paying them off at the time he was asking to be a lawyer, he failed to disclose a single civil citation and or pay a penny in fines. About a decade later he finally paid, but only after adverse media reports forced his hand.” If the factual allegations are determined to be true, then knowledge of his repeated violations when understood in conjunction with the plain language his bar application requesting disclosure of such violations would be a basis for the bar to find that Mr. Obama answered deceptively. This conduct would therefore constitute intentional misconduct.

Anonymous stated, “Obama himself has admitted illegal drug use prior to his bar application. Failing to disclose that on his bar application is enough to require the Illinois State Bar to investigate this matter.” Anonymous continued, “Violations of the bar rules can lead to disbarment. The Illinois State Bar Association should investigate the matter without delay, as the American people are entitled to know if Obama, who promises to act ethically as President, has in fact acted unethically as a lawyer.” “No further evidence is needed to prove a presidential candidate unfit for office than for Obama to lose his bar license.”

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