Specter Introduces Bill to Protect Attorney-Client Privilege

Sen. Arlen Specter has introduced a much-needed bill to protect the attorney-client privilege.

The bill is titled the Attorney-Client Privilege Protection Act of 2006 (ACPPA).

The ACPPA would prohibit government lawyers from forcing organizations into:

  • Disclosing information protected by the attorney-client privilege or work product doctrine;
  • Refusing to contribute to the legal defense of an employee;
  • Refusing to enter into a joint defense strategy with an employee;
  • Refusing to share relevant information with an employee; and
  • Terminating or disciplining an employee.

As for why it's needed:

At a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last September, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty informed the committee that the Department of Justice was considering revising the “Thompson Memorandum,” which directs federal prosecutors to weigh whether a company will agree to not pay employees attorneys fee and waive the attorney client privilege when deciding whether charges will be filed against the corporation. Since the mere indictment of a company can be the effective equivalent of the corporate “death penalty” in the marketplace, companies have been coerced by federal prosecutors into surrendering important constitutional rights. A consequence of the Justice Department’s arrogance in corporate investigations has been adoption of these unfair tactics by federal regulatory agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. The ACPPA would apply to all government lawyers, not just employees of the Department of Justice.

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    interest timing (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Thu Dec 07, 2006 at 08:49:46 PM EST
    Now that subpoena power is available to the democrats, the doings of Barbara Comstck are a thing to watch. They are a good indicator of what the republican party operatives are thinking at any given time.  
    Corallo and Comstock are forming the crisis management firm Corallo Comstock, Inc. They aim to open shop on Jan. 1, just before the new Democratic chairmen will start banging their gavels and demanding information from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. "Just in time for subpoena season," Corallo told HOH. ...

    The executive branch has envoked attorney client privilege of late, even though the attorney general and staff are working for the american public. And even though many executive branch members lawyered up, just  in case.

    and there's this:

    "Important Bush Administration officials are ready to leave the government rather than undergo two years of hell from Democratic committee chairmen in Congress. Leading the exodus are officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fearing investigation by two chairmen, Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and John Dingell (D-MI)," according to the Evans-Novak Political Report.

    think progress

    A win/win situation for Spector.

    Question (none / 0) (#2)
    by sparky on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 09:49:55 AM EST
    While I can see the value of a statute like this from the perspective of a defense lawyer, it seems to me that it would be useful to consider it in the broader context of exactly how far personhood (excuse the term) should be extended in our rapidly corporatizing world.

    I'm not here to defend government overreach, just asking if it's a good idea to formalize another level of protection for corporate entities.